KOHIMA: The Election Commission of India on Wednesday issued the notification for the February 27 elections to the 60-member Nagaland Assembly despite civil society groups and political parties' demand to defer the polls.
The Core Committee of Nagaland Tribal Hoho and Civil Organisations (CCNTCHOC) has called state-wide dawn to dusk shutdown on Thursday to protest against the Commission going ahead with the elections.
"It is a constitutional requirement and nothing is going to change the election schedule. We are going ahead to conduct the election as announced by the Election Commission. Therefore, I appeal to everyone not to vitiate this election process," State chief electoral officer Abhijit Sinha told IANS.
Following the issuance of the election notification, Sinha said nominations can be filed in returning officers from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. till February 7.
Several Naga civil society groups under the banner of the CCNTCHOC and political parties have sought the polls' deferment so that an early solution to the protracted Naga insurgency issue can be reached.
On Monday, 11 political parties, including the ruling Naga People's Front, and the Bharatiya Janata Party, had issued a joint declaration not to issue party ticket or file nominations for the assembly polls in response to the call by various tribal groups for "Solution before Election".
The joint declaration was also signed by the Congress, the Nationalist Congress Party, the Janata Dal-United, the Lok Janshakti Party, the Aam Aadmi Party, the Nagaland Democratic People's Party, the Nagaland Congress, the United Naga Democratic Party and the National People's Party at a meeting convened by the CCNTCHOC, which cautioned that any candidate or party defying the call will be treated as "anti-Naga".
However, Nagaland BJP President Visasolie Lhoungu said that the state unit will "abide by the directives of the party high command" while Congress General Secretary in-charge of Nagaland, C.P. Joshi said here that his party will take its decision on the election soon.
The separatist National Socialist Council of Nagalim-Issac Muivah, which had signed the Framework Agreement with the central government in August 2015, had claimed that the decision to hold elections was bound to undermine progress in the ongoing talks.
This is the second time that Nagaland assembly polls are heading for a boycott after 1998.