Polling Stations In Eastern Nagaland Region Wear Deserted Look As People Abstain From Voting - Eastern Mirror
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Polling stations in eastern Nagaland region wear deserted look as people abstain from voting

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By Henlly Phom Odyuo Updated: Apr 19, 2024 11:12 pm

DIMAPUR — At least 4 lakh electors from six districts in eastern Nagaland abstained from voting when the state went to polls in the first phase of the 18th Lok Sabha elections on Friday.

As voting was progressing in the rest of the state, polling stations in Kiphire, Longleng, Mon, Noklak, Shamator and Tuensang districts wore a deserted look following a total shutdown called by the Eastern Nagaland Public Emergency Control Room in the region to “mitigate the risk of public gatherings and potential unrest”.

Several video clips and photos of polling officials sitting idle were circulated on various social media platforms, as the region recorded zero voter turnout on Friday.

Notably, volunteers were reportedly deployed outside the homes to legislators in their respective districts, but there no reports of violence or any confrontations on the polling day.

CEO cautions ENPO

Meanwhile, the state Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) had cautioned the Eastern Nagaland Peoples’ Organisation (ENPO) president over the call for an indefinite total shutdown in the eastern region by the organisation.

The CEO issued a show-cause notice to the president of ENPO on the eve of the polling day, asking why action should not be initiated as per Sub-Section (1) of Section 171(C ) of the Indian Penal Code, 1860, which states that, “Whoever voluntarily interferes or attempts to interfere with the free exercise of any electoral right commits the offense of undue influence at an election”.

In response, the ENPO maintained that the main goal of the public notice, published on April 18, was to “reduce the possibility of disturbances” and the “risks linked with gatherings of anti-social elements”.

Reminding that the eastern region is presently under ‘public emergency,’ the ENPO argued the shutdown was a voluntary initiative taken by the people of the region, and “Subsection (1) of Section 171  is not applicable in this context as no offence related to undue influence at any election has been committed by us or the eastern Nagaland people”.

The apex body of eastern Nagaland said that the Election Commission was informed of the people’s intention to abstain from participating in the Lok Sabha elections, through a letter on April 1.

“Given that the shutdown was a voluntary initiative by the people, there was no question of coercion or enforcement by the ENPO or any other authority”, it said, adding that it operates “solely on the basis of voluntary participation and consensus among the Eastern Nagaland people”.

However, the CEO viewed the shutdown as an attempt to exert undue influence during elections, and cautioned the ENPO president to ensure that “no action is taken by the Eastern Nagaland Peoples’ Organisation that may be interpreted as interfering or attempting to interfere with the free exercise of electoral rights of any person”.

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By Henlly Phom Odyuo Updated: Apr 19, 2024 11:12:15 pm
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