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Probe buzz into proxy voting

Kohima, May 7: The Election Commission and the National Investigation Agency (NIA) are investigating reports of largescale proxy voting and rigging on April 9 polls in Nagaland.

“Two officials from the Election Commission and one from NIA were in Kohima recently to investigate widespread anomalies in the polls allegedly by the ruling Naga People’s Front (NPF),” a source said.

The Congress, which has lodged a complaint with the Election Commission, also confirmed a visit of central officials to the state but it was not known with whom they met.

The team had come after the Congress had registered a complaint with the Election Commission with evidences of widespread proxy voting and rigging allegedly by the NPF. The evidence included videos, photographs, complaint letters from various quarters and newspaper clips.

But the NPF said the polls were conducted in free and fair manner and thanked the church, NGOs, election department and the Election Commission. Chief minister Neiphiu Rio is the NPF candidate while K.V. Pusa is the Congress candidate.

The Eastern Nagaland People’s Organisation (ENPO) said it has been pressurising the Election Commission to hold an election at Ladigrah, which fall under Longleng district.

“We have been putting pressure the Election Commission to conduct election at Ladigrah,” said ENPO president Chingmak Chang.

Stating that not an inch of Nagaland’s land will be given to Assam, he said if they allow counting on May 16, Assam would continue to encroach into Nagaland. “Next time it will be another village, therefore, we cannot allow this,” he added.

The ENPO president hinted that they might resort to even stopping of counting of votes on May 16 in four districts — Mon, Kiphire, Longleng and Tuensang —if the Election Commission failed to conduct polls at Ladigrah.

The ENPO has already submitted a complaint letter to the Election Commission, election department and returning officer but so far there has been no response from the Election Commission.

The Congress has reportedly taken up the Ladigarh issue with the Election Commission. The party said because of one Lok Sabha seat Nagaland could not afford to lose land to Assam.

“Our land is more important than election,” a senior Congress leader said. He criticised the state government for its lukewarm response to the issue.