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Despite Suggestions, Centre Went in for Nagaland Elections to Delink Polls from Peace Talks

Image for representation.

Image for representation.

Sources have told News18 that there were suggestions made to the Centre before the announcement of poll dates that they be deferred by six months. A specific timeframe, where all stakeholders come on board by the end of this year, was proposed.

New Delhi: Despite sections calling for the Nagaland assembly elections to be deferred, in order to further provide impetus to peace talks, the central government has decided not set any deadline for signing the final accord with Naga insurgent groups.

Sources have told News18 that there were suggestions made to the Centre before the announcement of poll dates that they be deferred by six months. A specific timeframe, where all stakeholders come on board by the end of this year, was proposed.

“The problem with such a step was that the onus would be on the union government to thrash out an accord before the end of the deadline. That may not be in our best interest,” a source told News18.

Earlier this month, Naga Hoho, an apex body of the tribals had written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi seeking postponement of the assembly elections till the insurgency issue was resolved.

The five-year term of the Nagaland assembly ends in March this year and postponing elections would have entailed the imposition of President’s Rule, which requires ratification by Parliament within six months from the date of notification.

In 2015, a framework agreement between the Union Home Ministry and Nationalist Socialist Council of Nagaland Isak-Moivah (NSCN-IM) was signed. This was the first step towards settling the oldest insurgency in independent India. Since then, the Centre’s interlocutor has held many rounds of talks with all stakeholders to arrive at an acceptable draft of the final agreement.

“Setting any deadline would restrict our ability to negotiate. Other states like Manipur, Assam and Arunachal Pradesh, who would be directly affected by the final accord, have to be brought on board before we sign on the dotted line,” said a source privy to the discussions.

The issue in discussions remains the demand by various sections of the NSCN for a greater Nagaland or Nagalim, comprising parts of Manipur, Assam and Arunachal Pradesh.