Nagaland legislators’ union defies tribal body’s ‘boycott Feb 27 elections’ diktat

The Eastern Nagaland People’s Organisation, the apex tribal body of eastern Nagaland, is spearheading a 'people’s movement' demanding the creation of a 'Frontier Nagaland' state.
Image used for representational purpose only.
Image used for representational purpose only.

GUWAHATI: Defying the diktat of some influential tribal organisations, all 20 MLAs of eastern Nagaland decided to contest the February 27 Assembly elections in the state. 

The decision was made at a meeting of the Eastern Nagaland Legislators’ Union on Monday. The 20 legislators include four ministers. 

The Eastern Nagaland People’s Organisation (ENPO), the apex tribal body of eastern Nagaland, is spearheading a 'people’s movement' demanding the creation of a 'Frontier Nagaland' state. It has already declared that the people of eastern Nagaland will boycott the polls if the Centre fails to create the Frontier Nagaland state.

Nagaland has 16 districts and the ENPO wants the Centre to carve Mon, Tuensang, Longleng, Kiphire, Shamator and Noklak districts out of the state for the envisaged 'Frontier Nagaland'. Mon, Kiphire and Noklak share a border with Myanmar.

To break the ice, the Centre held some meetings with the ENPO, in Delhi, Nagaland and Guwahati in recent times. Union Home Minister Amit Shah attended one of them. 

However, even as the deadlock continued, the Konyak Union threatened to 'permanently expel' those who would file their nomination for the polls from the 'Konyak soil' and hold their villages solely responsible.

The Konyaks are a majority tribe. 

The decision of the Konyak Union was in consonance with the August 26, 2022 resolution of the ENPO to abstain from participating in the elections until the Centre acceded to the statehood demand. Several other leading tribal organisations from eastern Nagaland endorsed the ENPO resolution.

Nagaland has 60 Assembly constituencies and the 20 seats in eastern Nagaland are currently held by ruling parties Nationalist Democratic Progressive Party (16) and the BJP (four).

The statehood demand stems from the alleged backwardness of eastern Nagaland. The locals alleged successive governments had neglected the region.

“The Centre gives a lot of money but it gets finished in (state capital) Kohima, (commercial hub) Dimapur, and Mokokchung. There has been total discrimination against eastern Nagaland for the past 60 years,” ENPO secretary W Manwang Anghaa alleged.

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