Winds of Chang blows over: EC declares Noksen polls
Dimapur, August 1
The confusion in Nagaland about the assignment of Naga politician CM Chang can now be put to rest. The Election Commission of India has announced September 4 as the date for by-polls to the 51-Noksen Assembly Constituency in Nagaland – the seat CM Chang won this year even while holding post as Member of Parliament representing Nagaland in the Lok Sabha. The Election Commission of India announced the by-polls on Thursday. “There is a clear vacancy from 51-Noksen (ST) Assembly Constituency of Nagaland, which needs to be filled up,” the commission said in a circular.
In March first week this year, the media reported that the MP had resigned from the Parliament to contest in the state assembly elections. The assembly polls were held on February 23. He won the Noksen seat and got a berth in Neiphiu Rio’s Council of Ministers as Minister for School Education – only to announce his resignation, again, from his ministerial post around March 14. So there, confusion thickened in the minds of Nagaland’s electorate about whether he was now an MP or Noksen’s MLA – or both. Or neither.
Secretary General of the Naga Peoples’ Front (NPF) KG Kenye was at hand on Thursday night to clarify that the NPF’s candidate to the Lok Sabha was no longer representing the assembly constituency of 51-Noksen. “He is no longer representing the 51 Noksen constituency; he has already resigned,” said the NPF leader. An amused Kenye admitted that the confusion about Chang had been widespread. “This is the first time (such a situation has taken place) in our history,” the NPF leader told Eastern Mirror.
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Likewise, the party’s top media official Abu Metha clarified that CM Chang had already resigned as representative of Noksen.
Polling processes and procedures to be followed have also been listed in the commission’s notification. The commission’s notifications stated that the electoral rolls of 51-Noksen (ST) Assembly Constituency have been revised.
The commission has decided to use EVMs (electronic voting machines) in the bye-election in all the polling stations. Adequate numbers of EVMs have been made available and all steps have been taken to ensure that the polls are conducted smoothly with the help of these machines.
The commission has decided that the voter’s identification shall be mandatory in the aforementioned bye- election at the time of poll. Photo Electoral Roll (PER) shall be the main document of identification of a voter. However, in order to ensure that no voter is deprived of his/her franchise, if his/her name figures in the Electoral Rolls, separate instructions will be issued to allow additional documents for identification of voters at the time of poll in the said bye-election.
Further, the Model Code of Conduct is to come into force with immediate effect in the district(s) in “which the whole or any part of the Assembly Constituency going for bye-election is included,” subject to partial modification. The Model Code of Conduct shall be applicable to all candidates, political parties and the state Government in concern, the commission’s notification stated. The Model Code of Conduct shall also be applicable to the Union Government for the State in concern, the commission has said.