Nagaland election boycott call ‘relaxed’
The Eastern Nagaland Peoples’ Organisation (ENPO) on Saturday “relaxed” its August 26 decision to abstain from any election process in the state, a development which Union home minister Amit Shah described as an “expression of trust” in the Narendra Modi-led government.
The ENPO said in a statement after a meeting held in Dimapur that it “relaxed” its resolution in the “interest of fair and peaceful conduct” of the Assembly elections, and has also requested everyone to “cooperate with the government” in the smooth conduct of the election within ENPO jurisdiction.
Nagaland, which has an NDPP-BJP coalition government, goes to the polls on February 27. The last date for filing nominations for the polls is February 7. Of the 60 Assembly seats, 20 are located in the ENPO region.
The ENPO had on August 26, 2022, resolved to abstain from participating in any state or central election process till its demand for a separate Frontier Nagaland state was fulfilled.
The ENPO is the apex body of seven tribal organisations from Eastern Nagaland, including the Konyak, Chang, Khiamniungan, Phom, Sangtam, Yimkhiung and Tikhir communities.
The call to abstain from the election process was part of its movement to secure a separate state comprising the six districts of Mon, Kiphire, Shamatore, Noklak, Tuensang and Longleng.
The ENPO statement also said the resolution, adopted by its constituent tribal bodies and frontal organisations to abstain from any election process on August 26, was relaxed following a request by the MHA on January 16 and then an assurance given by the Union home minister Shah to ENPO officials on February 2.
The ENPO said the assurance was “a solution as mutually agreed will be reached after following due process and will be implemented after completion of the election process”.
The relief over the development was evident from the tweets of Shah: “It is heartening that in an expression of trust in the Modi government, the Eastern Nagaland Peoples Organisation (ENPO) in Nagaland has withdrawn its call to boycott the Assembly elections. The decision will help in keeping the ongoing process of peace & development unhindered.”
In another tweet, Shah said: “I am grateful for their positive gesture reaffirming ENPO’s commitment to democratic processes. PM @narendramodiJi has made untiring efforts to assure the people of Northeast India that the government is with them and the ENPO’s move is an approval of these endeavours.”