Nagaland Election Commission appeals ENPO to reassess ULB election boycott

KOHIMA, May 17 (MExN): The Nagaland State Election Commission (SEC) has urged the Eastern Nagaland People’s Organisation (ENPO) to reconsider its decision to boycott the upcoming Urban Local Bodies (ULB) elections. This appeal was preceded by the state government spokesperson, the Minister for Power and Parliamentary Affairs, KG Kenye appealing the ENPO to participate in the upcoming polls. The ENPO had earlier declared a collective stance to abstain from participating in any state or national elections, which was reiterated in a letter to the SEC on May 16.  

The election Commissioner T John Longkumer, in a statement, acknowledged the grounds on which the ENPO’s decided to boycott the elections. However, he said, “It is of the view that the method adopted to express their stand on collective abstention from participating in the ULB election needs a reasoned reconsideration.”

While stating that opting not to vote needs to be understood in the light of individual freedom and choice, he asserted that voting is based on the principle of one person one vote and not a collective instrument. “Therefore, it is a settled principle that an individual voter enjoys the freedom of conscience to exercise this right without any external or undue influence from any individual or organization.”

He reminded that the matter of the ULB elections in Nagaland has been under the supervision of the Supreme Court and that any attempt to disturb the electoral process would potentially have serious legal ramifications. 

He added that the Urban Local Bodies is an essential requirement for incorporating the common aspirations and grievances of the local populace. 

While assuring of holding free and fair elections to the Municipal and Town Councils as notified on April 29, he said that allowing the people to vote freely and willingly exercise their Constitutional right “is deemed necessary to discharge the vital functions of local self governance.”

“In light of the above, the Commission would like to request the ENPO to reconsider its stance of asking citizens to abstain from participating in the ongoing ULB elections. Meanwhile, the Commission will ensure that all polling processes shall continue as per the election schedule,” Longkumer said.