The Nagaland State Election Commission (SEC) has urged the Eastern Nagaland People’s Organization (ENPO) to reconsider its decision to abstain from participating in the forthcoming Urban Local Bodies (ULB) elections.

The State Election Commissioner, T John Longkumer, in a statement, acknowledged the grounds on which the ENPO decided to abstain from participating in the ULB elections. However, he said that the SEC is of the view that the method adopted to express their stand on collective abstention from participating in the ULB election needs a reasoned reconsideration.

Stating that opting not to vote needs to be understood in the light of individual freedom and choice, he added that voting is based on the principle of “one person one vote” and not a collective instrument. The Election Commissioner further added that it is a “settled principle” that an individual voter enjoys the freedom of conscience to exercise this right without any external or undue influence from any individual or organization.

Further, he reminded that the matter of the ULB elections in Nagaland has been under the supervision of the Supreme Court and that any attempt to disturb the electoral process would potentially have serious legal ramifications.

He added that the Urban Local Bodies is an essential requirement for incorporating the common aspirations and grievances of the local populace.

While assuring that the SEC is committed to conducting free and fair elections to the Municipal and Town Councils as notified on 29 April, he said that allowing the people to vote freely and willingly exercise their Constitutional right “is deemed necessary to discharge the vital functions of local self-governance.”

“In light of the above, the Commission would like to request the ENPO to reconsider its stance of asking citizens to abstain from participating in the ongoing ULB elections,” Longkumer said.

Meanwhile, he asserted that the SEC will ensure that all polling processes continue as per the election schedule.

Earlier on Thursday, the state government, through its spokesperson KG Kenye, appealed to the ENPO to reconsider its decision and participate in the upcoming ULB polls following a Cabinet meeting. It may be mentioned here that ENPO had earlier declared its decision to abstain from participating in any state or national elections, including the ULB elections, reiterated in a letter to the SEC on 16 May.

ENPO reject Nagaland govt’s appeal, says firm on decision to abstain from ULB elections

The Eastern Nagaland People’s Organization (ENPO) on Friday rejected the Nagaland government’s appeal and stated that it remained firm on its decision of abstaining from participating in the Urban Local Bodies (ULB) elections, scheduled to be held on 26 June.

As per a report in The Economic Times, ENPO Secretary W Manwang Konyak said that they did not receive any written appeal and only saw in the media that the state government has made an appeal not to abstain from participating in the ULB polls.

“We have to go by the decision of our grassroots level people and organizations. We would abstain from participating in the ULB polls,” Konyak told the ET.

Konyak said that the ENPO has in a letter to the SEC informed about the eastern Nagaland people’s collective decision to abstain from participating in the forthcoming ULB elections scheduled.

“We did not get any further communication in this regard either from the government or the SEC,” he told ET. This was prior to the SEC’s statement on Friday.

Konyak said that the ENPO had on 19 March adopted a unanimous resolution that the people of the region would not participate in any Central and state elections due to the delay in creating the ‘Frontier Nagaland Territory (FNT)’ as offered and assured by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) on 7 December 2023.

MTNews Desk

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