Nagaland Chief Minister Requests ENPO Not To Boycott Lok Sabha Election - Eastern Mirror
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Nagaland Chief Minister requests ENPO not to boycott Lok Sabha election

By Livine Khrozhoh Updated: Mar 21, 2024 12:35 am

DIMAPUR — Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio on Wednesday appealed to the Eastern Nagaland People’s Organisation (ENPO) to refrain from boycotting the general election to the Lok Sabha, saying that the issue could be revisited after the election.

Addressing the gathering at the NDPP ticket awarding ceremony for the Lok Sabha election, held at NDPP Headquarters in Chümoukedima, Rio said that the ENPO had resolved not to participate in elections over the central government’s failure to meet their demands.

He stressed the importance of resolving the issue, and at the same time, highlighted the integral role of elected members from the eastern areas who are ‘part and parcel’ of the government. Stating that the people will suffer if differences among leaders persist, he urged for constructive dialogue and consultation, saying that the government stands ready to provide support.

Furthermore, he said that the members of Eastern Nagaland Legislators’ Union (ENLU) are in Delhi to meet with the central leaders, and the state cabinet would engage with them to discuss recommendations and resolutions as soon as they return to the state.

Rio recalled that the ENPO’s demand was submitted to the state in 2010, following which the state government made recommendations in 2011. Once the demand is fulfilled, there will be two electoral bodies — the legislative council and autonomous members — and it is up to them to discuss how to share the power and serve the people.

He maintained that the government has no differences with the ENPO and that there are elected members from the ENPO areas in the government. The issue is that the “ENPO and elected members of ENPO should sit across the table because MLAs are elected by the people,” he added.

Regarding the stance of the Government of India (GoI), Rio reiterated that statehood and union territory status were not feasible options, and that the ENPO has to work with the state government.

Being under the Governor’s authority is ‘undemocratic,’ likening it to a ‘permanent President’s rule’, he said while stressing the need for clarity in governance structures. He went on to assert that the state government cannot be subject to the control of the President or Governor, as the elected government is supreme.

Affirming that any ‘autonomy arrangement’ must collaborate with the state government, he reiterated that the state government is fully prepared to offer support.

Identified developmental areas for ENPO region

Meanwhile, the chief minister said that the state government has identified several developmental priorities for the eastern area, acknowledging that the region faces significant deficiencies in infrastructure development.

Addressing the low literacy rate is imperative, he said while stressing the need for a concerted focus on education by bringing educational standards at par with the rest of the state.

He went on to say that health care is another challenging sector faced by the region due to distance and communication issues. While the Government of India has sanctioned a medical college, additional medical facilities need to be provided, he said.

The per capita income in the ENPO area is lower compared to the rest of the state, necessitating livelihood projects to uplift economic conditions and raise per capita income to a reasonable level, he added.

Given the overall backwardness, Rio noted that there is a need for job reservations and access to higher education opportunities in fields like medicine, engineering and various technical posts. On this, he said that the government would give full support.

By Livine Khrozhoh Updated: Mar 21, 2024 12:35:45 am
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