Eastern Nagaland People’s Organisation Reaffirms ULB Election Abstention - Eastern Mirror
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Eastern Nagaland People’s Organisation reaffirms ULB election abstention

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By Purnungba Longkumer Updated: May 14, 2024 9:29 pm

Awaits state’s response on Frontier Nagaland Territory draft

ULB election
ENPO leaders addressing journalists at Tourist Lodge in Dimapur on Tuesday. (EM Images)

DIMAPUR — The Eastern Nagaland People’s Organisation (ENPO) remains resolute in its decision to abstain from the upcoming urban and local bodies elections.

Executive members of the ENPO, along with representatives from all eight affiliated tribal bodies, convened a co-ordination meeting on Tuesday, at the Tourist Lodge in Dimapur to discuss their stance.

Following the four-hour meeting, ENPO President, R Tsapikiu Sangtam addressed the media, reiterating the organisation’s unanimous commitment to abstaining from the elections. This decision, he explained, reaffirms the Chenmoho Resolution passed on February 23, 2024, which declared the ENPO’s non-participation in any state or central elections until their demands are met.

Sangtam clarified that the organisation is not boycotting the ULB election. As the ENPO respects democratic principles, we are choosing to abstain from participation, he explained.

Responding to queries on whether eastern Nagaland people residing in Dimapur would be part of the abstention, Sangtam said that the ENPO has not issued any directives to them. He explained that the resolution’s jurisdiction is limited to the ENPO area, making it unwise for the organisation to provide any directive on this matter.

When questioned about the potential ineffectiveness of abstaining from the Lok Sabha and ULB elections, he reiterated their commitment to the Chenmoho Resolution. He asserted that the ENPO is prepared for any form of agitation to uphold the resolution if the central government’s proposed solution fails to materialise.

On the current status of dialogue between the ENPO and the central government, Sangtam said that the ball is now in the state government’s court. The central government has drafted and forwarded a proposal regarding the Frontier Nagaland Territory (FNT) to the state government, and it is now up to the state government to respond and decide whether to accept it or not.

Sangtam stressed that the onus is now on the state government to either support or oppose the FNT proposal. He said that the state government has received highlights of the FNT draft, outlining the proposed structures and arrangements for the ENPO, and the centre is waiting for their response.

Likewise, the ENPO is waiting and anticipating that the state government will clarify its position after the election process concludes, he said.

Furthermore, he explained that the ENPO has not received the official draft yet, as it depends on the state government’s response.  Until the state government replies back, the central government will not inform the ENPO.

Once the official draft is received, there will be opportunities for negotiation and amendments, he said.

Meanwhile, Sangtam maintained that the ENPO initially demanded for a separate state, but it was ruled out. Subsequently, they explored the possibility for Union Territory status, which also proved unfeasible.

While the ENPO rejected the proposal for an autonomous council, they have now agreed to a unique arrangement under Article 371(A) — Frontier Nagaland Territory– which is positioned between a Union Territory and an autonomous council, and accepted by the ENPO and the central government, he said.

Addressing the perception that the state government is neglecting the ENPO’s demands, Sangtam said that the central and state governments, recognising the complexities of their initial demand for a separate state or Union Territory, persuaded them to consider the FNT arrangement.

This arrangement was presented by the central government as a neutral and accommodating solution, aiming to avoid disruptions to both the state and central governments, he maintained.

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By Purnungba Longkumer Updated: May 14, 2024 9:29:44 pm
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