Nagaland Cabinet Urges ENPO To Participate In ULB Polls - Eastern Mirror
Friday, July 12, 2024

Nagaland Cabinet urges ENPO to participate in ULB polls

By Thejoto Nienu Updated: May 16, 2024 11:39 pm
KG Kenye (centre) while addressing the press conference in Kohima on Thursday. (EM Images)

KOHIMA — Nagaland’s Cabinet has appealed to the Eastern Nagaland People’s Organisation (ENPO) to reconsider its decision to abstain from the upcoming urban local body (ULB) elections.

It said that the municipal election should not be seen as a means to register their protest as the demand for a Frontier Nagaland Territory (FNT) is already under process at a high level.

Addressing a press conference at Nagaland Civil Secretariat in Kohima on Thursday, the minister for Power and Parliamentary Affairs, KG Kenye said that the state Cabinet held a meeting at the chief minister’s office earlier in the day. He said that the Cabinet decided to, once again, request the ENPO and other concerned organisations to reconsider their decisions to abstain from the polls.

He stressed that the ULB elections are designed to empower local self-governance and facilitate development and upliftment of citizens at the grassroots. The ENPO, by participating in the ULB election which has been delayed for over two decades, can attract more funding from the private sector, the state, and the centre, he said, urging the ENPO to view the election as an opportunity to bring in more funding to develop urban local institutions.

The minister, responding to queries on whether there are any pre-poll alliances for ULB election, acknowledged that political parties are currently exploring different options, including fielding their own candidates. He expressed hope that a logical conclusion would be reached, and the decision would be made known in due course.

Further, Kenye informed that the Cabinet reviewed the timeline of events pertaining to the ENPO’s demand and the ongoing dialogue with the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA).

He said the Cabinet noted that no adverse remarks had been made against the ENPO since the movement began, while outlining the state government’s efforts to address the issue.

On the tripartite talks, involving the state government, ENPO, and MHA, which was proposed in October 2023, he said that the MHA had subsequently responded positively, and the chief minister was briefed on the ongoing correspondence.

The controversy surrounding the “draft” received from the MHA, which some labelled a “Working Paper” and others called a “Draft,” was also addressed. Kenye explained that the document contained the ENPO’s demands and was shared with Eastern Nagaland Legislators Union (ENLU) in December 2023.

However, the document’s authenticity was questioned by the ENPO, who accused the state government of manipulating it. Despite the ENLU’s insistence that the document was genuine, the ENPO refused to accept it, hindering further discussions regarding the potential division of power, he said.

The state government, facing a stalemate, has attempted to engage with the ENPO but has been unsuccessful, he said, adding that ‘unofficially, the government was informed the ENPO would not meet with the government.

 As a result, the government has communicated its request for the ENPO to reconsider its stance through the ENLU and the Eastern Nagaland Gazetted Officers Association (ENGOA), he maintained.

GoI actively considering FMR issue

Kenye also addressed the issue of the Free Movement Regime (FMR) along the Indo-Myanmar border, which was scrapped by the Government of India (GoI). The state assembly had passed a resolution urging the GoI to reconsider this decision in the interest of border communities and the Naga people.

He said the state government is firm on its stance and is working to have the GoI reconsider the FMR issue, Kenye said, adding that the GoI is actively considering the matter. He called on NGOs and civil society organisations (CSOs) to be patient and await a positive response from the GoI.

Further, he said that there has been a pressing demand for the state government to address the Naga political issue with more focus and commitment.

In this connection, he said that new Political Consultative Committees (PCCs) would be formed with renewed vigour and focus, to resolve the issue at the earliest. The PCCs will assist the existing Parliamentary Affairs Committee and will involve representatives from political parties, MLAs, and also mobilise organisations, with a goal of achieving a solution as soon as possible.

By Thejoto Nienu Updated: May 16, 2024 11:39:37 pm
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