Nagaland Parties Call For 'Solution Before Election', Refuse Polls Till Peace Deal Sorted

| January 30 , 2018 , 13:10 IST

The assembly election in Nagaland had been announced to take place on February 27 with the date of nominations opening from January 31, however, following an all-party meeting in the state, the political parties have signed a joint declaration against the polls until the political issues are sorted.

The all-party meeting took the decision to ‘come together in the greater interest of the state' in solidarity with the call 'Solution Before Election'.

As per the declaration signed by all the political parties in state capital Kohima on Monday, they will refuse to issue tickets or file nominations for the polls, and if the election notification does get published, they will call for a state-wide bandh.

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The Naga tribal civil society groups are pressuring the Centre to find a solution to the vexed peace process before they go forward with the elections. National and regional political parties have come together to push for the political solution.

The call shunning the polls was first made by the insurgent group National Socialist Council of Nagalim (Isak-Muivah) on January 23, when it said, "The decision taken by the GoI/Election Commission of India to hold election is bound to undermine the progress of the ongoing talks between the NSCN and the GoI and become a serious obstacle towards finding an early political solution."

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The apex body of all Naga tribes, Naga Hoho last week had also called for a boycott of the assembly elections. A working committee of 6 Naga National Political Groups also called for a hold on the state assembly elections till a final solution could be sorted.

In August 2015, a broad agreement had been worked out between the central government and the rebel group NSCN (IM), outlining the modalities for a peace process. The Naga group later claimed that the centre had recognised the legal rights of the Nagas and also conceded to the demand for an autonomous state of Greater Nagaland, combining areas of Assam, Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh. With protests erupting in the neighbouring states, the Centre denied the claims made by the Naga group.

At the time, the government said that the agreement signed was preliminary in nature and future rounds of discussions would take place to negotiate the details.