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Nagaland Poll Boycott Flops as Parties Blame Each Other, Decide to Contest

These developments come less than a week since the dramatic all-stakeholders meeting in Dimapur, which decided that none of the political parties would contest the polls.

Subhajit Sengupta | CNN-News18SubhajitSG

Updated:February 5, 2018, 2:58 PM IST
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Nagaland Poll Boycott Flops as Parties Blame Each Other, Decide to Contest
A woman shields herself from the sun with an umbrella as she and others queue to cast their vote at a polling station. (Reuters)
Kohima: After the BJP broke rank, Naga People's Front (NPF) and Congress too made it clear that they will contest the state assembly elections, scheduled for February 27.

These developments come less than a week since the dramatic all-stakeholders meeting in Dimapur, which decided that none of the political parties would contest the polls.

In a press note issued by the NPF, it said the Government of India repeatedly pointed out that holding timely elections was a constitutional requirement and that it was bound by constitutional provisions. Therefore, it became apparent that the February 27 election will be a reality.

The NPF went on to blame lack of consensus amongst NGOs and themselves as the reason they have to take part in the polls. They, however, did maintain that their “commitment towards a solution of the Naga political issue shall continue as in the past”.

The Congress decided to blame BJP and NPF, and said, “Since all political parties, led by the NPF and BJP, are gearing up to take part in elections, Congress will soon be releasing its 2018 Election Manifesto.”

Congress especially blamed the BJP for forcing elections “against the wishes of the people”. It also blamed the party of planning to “flood the state with money to lure candidates and buy out the voters”. “They simply brushed aside the Joint Declaration of January 29 and made a scapegoat out of their senior party functionaries,” said the Congress’ statement.

BJP was the first party to announce its candidates for the polls. The party would contest the elections “for the cause of solution” to the Naga political problem. This came soon after Union Minister of State and BJP's man-in-charge of Nagaland elections, Kiren Rijiju said, "The Union Government is sensitive about the sentiment of Naga people and is committed to an early solution to their issue. The government will implement the solution as soon as it is reached."

The Congress and NPF’s willingness to declare candidates is because they do not wish for a redux of 1998. Back then, all parties, apart from Congress had boycotted the polls after a similar call by the Naga apex tribal body, Naga Hoho. Congress won 53 seats, while independents got seven. NPF was de-recognised and their symbol frozen for boycotting the polls.

It is expected that all the major parties would file their nominations before February 7, the last date for doing so.

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| Edited by: Aditya Nair
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