11 Nagaland parties decide to boycott assembly polls

Kohima, January 29 (IANS): Eleven political parties in Nagaland on Monday decided not to issue party tickets or file nominations for the February 27 assembly elections, to press for early solution to the seven-decade-old Naga insurgency issue before the polls.  

The decision was taken at a meeting convened by the Core Committee of Nagaland Tribal Hoho and Civil Organisations (CCNTCHOC) with the leaders of various political parties, including the ruling Naga People's Front (NPF) and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).  

"...it is expedient for all the political parties, both national and regional, to come together in the greater interest of the state...with the call 'Solution before Election' and defer the elections...and allow the Naga political process to reach its logical conclusion by giving space and time to the negotiating groups to bring out an early solution," the joint declaration of the political parties stated.  

Other signatories to the declaration include the Congress, Nationalist Congress Party, Janata Dal-United, Lok Janshakti Party, Aam Aadmi Party, Nagaland Democratic People's Party, Nagaland Congress, United Naga Democratic Party and the National People's Party.  

Elections to the Nagaland Assembly to re-constitute the 60-member House is slated to be held on February 27, counting of votes on March 3 and the entire poll process is scheduled to be completed on March 5.  

After a meeting with the Core Committee on Sunday, Naga separatists had issued a joint statement warning persons planning to contest the Nagaland Assembly polls and asking them not to sabotage the historical talks by taking part in the electoral processes.  

The separatist National Socialist Council of Nagalim-Issac Muivah, which had signed the Framework Agreement to end Naga insurgency in August 2015 with the central government, had claimed that the decision to hold elections was bound to undermine the progress in the ongoing parleys.  

In 2017, the Centre signed an agreement with a working committee comprising six Naga national political groups (Naga rebel factions).  

On Saturday, the Core Committee had also written to Chief Election Commissioner O.P. Rawat, appealing to him to defer February 27 elections in favour of early solution to the protracted Naga insurgency issue.  

"The opportunity for a peaceful resolution of the Naga political issue has never been this favourable, as the political negotiations are in advance stage and we can't afford to distract the focus from the (peace talks) process at any cost," the Committee had said in a letter to Rawat.