Announcing poll date for Nagaland Polls before final pact ?

Nagaland will go to polls on February 27 along with Meghalaya with counting scheduled for March 3. The focus however will not be so much on which party romps home after the election but how the announcement of the election schedule will impact on the ongoing peace talks between the NSCN (IM) and the Government of India. With New Delhi engaged not only with the NSCN (IM) but with other Naga organisations which have come under the Naga National Political Groups, the talk today can truly be called Indo-Naga peace talks. This is what has made the political engagement all that more interesting. That the poll notification has come despite the intense lobbying carried out by different Naga civil society organisations at New Delhi to defer the polls and first announce the final pact is what will add that dash of colour to the campaigning by the different political parties, notably the NPF and the BJP. The two are no doubt partners in the NPF led DAN Government in Nagaland, but the BJP will surely be looking forward to better its performance in the Christian dominated State but it would be a tragedy if the pending final pact is used as a tool for campaigning in the coming Assembly elections. This is a word of caution which the voters of Nagaland should bear in mind while they make up their minds on who to vote for. On the other hand, with more than 30 days still to go for polling day, there is the possibility that the final pact may just come in the interregnum and if this happens then surely it will make the election in Nagaland all that more fruitful and colourful. That is if the final pact is to the satisfaction of the people of Nagaland.
That the different civil society organisations want the final pact more than the election is a point which has already been made clear on more than one occasion. The poll date announcement came even as the Naga Hoho is campaigning in Delhi to put the pressure for the final pact before the election. Notable to note too that the Naga Students’ Federation had put up a number of posters and banners under the theme, ‘Solution not Election’ but obviously all these failed to cut ice with the Election Commission of India. And not surprisingly too for remember the ECI is not in any way involved in the ongoing Naga peace process. Given the backdrop in which the election notification has been announced, it will be interesting to watch the response or reaction of the different Naga civil society organisations as well as the Government of Nagaland. How will the people respond to the poll call ? In all probability the election will pass off without any major hitch and this will be something very different from the days when the NSCN (IM) boycotted elections in the Naga dominated districts of Manipur under the slogan, ‘Solution not Election’. It will also be interesting to see how the Naga civil society organisations of Manipur respond to the poll notification in Nagaland.

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