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ENPO Firm on Boycott of ULB Elections, Cites Unresolved Frontier Nagaland Territory Demand

The Eastern Nagaland People's Organisation (ENPO) on Friday rejected the Nagaland government’s appeal and remained firm on abstaining from participating in the Urban Local Bodies (ULB) elections, scheduled on June 26.

ENPO Secretary W. Manwang Konyak said that they did not receive any written appeal and only saw in the media that the state government has made an appeal not to boycott the ULB polls.

“We have to go by the decision of our grassroots level people and organisation. We would abstain from participating in the ULB polls,” Konyak told IANS.

After a cabinet meeting chaired by Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio, the Nagaland government on Thursday urged the ENPO not to boycott the vital ULB polls.

Parliamentary Affairs Minister K.G. Kenye, who is the Spokesman of the state government said that the government has appealed to ENPO and its constituent bodies to participate in the ULB elections, which are being conducted on the directions of the Supreme Court.

The ULB election is for empowering local self-governance and facilitating development and uplift of the citizens at the grassroots, he said.

Kenye said that after a prolonged battle involving the women’s reservation in the ULBs, the state would be holding the ULB election in the larger interest of the public and their welfare.

He said that ULB elections should not be seen as a means for ENPO to register resentment and protest for their demands on Frontier Nagaland Territory.

Since 2010, the ENPO has been demanding a separate 'Frontier Nagaland Territory' or a separate state comprising the six eastern Nagaland districts -- Kiphire, Longleng, Mon, Noklak, Shamator, and Tuensang and it also boycotted the election to the lone Nagaland Lok Sabha seat on April 19 in support of its demand.

The ENPO Secretary said that they have already informed the State Election Commission (SEC) that the people of the six districts would abstain from voting in the ULB polls, covering three Municipal Councils and 36 Town Councils.

Konyak said that the ENPO had, on March 19, adopted a unanimous resolution that the people of the region would not participate in any central and state elections due to the delay in creating the ‘Frontier Nagaland Territory (FNT)’ as offered and assured by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) on December 7, 2023.

“Through many letters to MHA and mass rallies, we tried to persuade the Central government to resolve our demand but it turned a deaf ear,” the Naga leader said.

However, the ENPO has clarified that this stance should not be misconstrued as opposition to the Nagaland Municipal Act, 2023 with 33 per cent reservation for women.

Nagaland Chief Minister earlier said that the state government has proposed the constitution of an autonomous body for the development of eastern Nagaland and its people.

The ENPO has been demanding a separate ‘Frontier Nagaland Territory’ comprising six eastern districts inhabited by seven backward tribes -- Chang, Khiamniungan, Konyak, Phom, Tikhir, Sangtam, and Yimkhiung.

The ENPO and its allies had given a call to boycott the Assembly elections held in February last year but withdrew it later following an assurance from Union Home Minister Amit Shah.

(Northeast, Northeast News)

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