Amidst the Eastern Nagaland Peoples’ Organization’s resolution and its stand to uphold the 23 February 2024 Chenmoho Resolution, where they pledged to abstain from any State and Central elections until their demand for Frontier Naga Territory is fulfilled, the ENPO on 11 June saw a setback as a total of 57 candidates reportedly filed their nomination papers for the upcoming ULB elections in various districts, barring Tuensang and Noklak.

This has led to a series of events, including confrontations, summons, or resignations in various districts of Eastern Nagaland by their respective tribal councils, students’ bodies, and other various organizations. This development has further led to the postponement of the ENPO CEC meeting and General Session which was scheduled for 13 and 14 June 2024.

Tamlu town sees confrontation over MLA agents’ nomination attempts
In Longleng district’s Tamlu Town, an altercation broke out on the way to the ADC Office at the close of nomination time today for the upcoming Tamlu Town Council election. The altercation reportedly took place when people who turned up to file nominations under 49 Tamlu AC were turned away by volunteers and student organizations. The incident was confirmed by the ADC of Tamlu Town with this newspaper. However, the ADC noted that the names or particulars of the persons turned away could not be confirmed.

Talking to Mokokchung Times, a former member of the Tamlu Adhoc Town Committee said it was not the candidate who came to file the nomination but the agents of the MLA.

“It was not the candidate but the MLA agents that came for the nominations, so we stopped them, saying when the authorities of the State and the Center are yet to fulfil the ENPO’s demand and the talks are still ongoing, why are they behaving like this? We made them understand that this is not the way to do it. We all had an understanding, and they left,” he said.

Further, the former member also acknowledged that they have heard that about 11 people have filed nomination papers in Longleng Town but were not aware whether they will withdraw or have withdrawn. “I heard there is a meeting going on regarding the issue and everything is yet to be decided”.

Regarding the prolonged delay in fulfilling the FNT demand, the former member said, “This is indeed hurtful. Our Tamlu Town has seen no development except for the recent 2-lane highway. If the ULB election is held, we are certain we can bring about some development, but it’s unfortunate that the government response is still cold.”

The former member further expressed hope that talks will resume between the newly elected NDA government and ENPO and asserted that the Tamlu citizens are strongly supporting the ENPO stance and will continue to support it.

Meanwhile, the president of Phom Peoples’ Council, Y Bangam, tendered his resignation from the office of the Phom People’s Council with immediate effect.

“We have stood firm from the very beginning to uphold the Chenomoho Resolution. But today’s (11th June 2024) ULB election is the latest of very poor taste which I feel I have failed the people of Eastern Nagas in general and our people in particular. Somebody must take the responsibility, and I have concluded that, in these circumstances, it would not be right for me to remain in office,” the president stated in his resignation letter.

The president, who had been serving for six months, extended his gratitude to the people from all walks of life and urged the people to respect his “deeply personal decision.”

Konyak Union summons
Meanwhile, the Konyak Union has summoned 21 Ward Chairmen, KU units, and Students Union and have requested them to bring all the candidates who filed their nomination papers to the KU office at 11.00 am on 12 June, failing which the KU said action will be strongly initiated as per the resolution. This was issued for going against the ENPO Chenmoho Resolution of 23 Feb 2024. Among the list of the candidates, 10 were from the BJP and 11 were from the NDPP.

Additionally, a candidate from Shamator town has also withdrawn her candidature after initially filing her nomination papers.

RPP accuses Rio of “fooling” ENPO twice
In a scathing rebuke, the Rising People’s Party (RPP) has levelled serious allegations against Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio, accusing him of orchestrating a betrayal against the Eastern Nagaland People’s Organization (ENPO) for the second time.

The RPP alleged that Rio’s latest move involved undermining the authority of the ENPO by allowing NDPP/BJP candidates to file their nominations in various ULBs (Urban Local Bodies) across eastern Nagaland. This, the RPP claims, came after Rio ensured that the issue of Frontier Nagaland Territory (FNT) was ‘scuttled’.

According to the RPP, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) had issued a directive mandating the state government to provide its opinion on the Draft Working Paper (DWP) regarding FNT before 31 December 2023. However, according to the ENPO, the state government sat on the DWP, as stated in their press release in April 2024.

“An enraged ENPO exposed the diabolic policy of CM Neiphiu Rio through various press statements and decided to abstain from the LS poll which was historic,” the RPP stated.

The RPP minced no words in their condemnation, asserting that “Rio has fooled the ENPO people twice, doubly aided by his rubber stamp president Chingwang Konyak.”

“Chingwang Konyak, the president of the NDPP, and a former talk team member for Frontier Nagaland Territory (FNT), could have restrained the NDPP candidates from filing their nominations but he chose to betray his own people,” said the RPP.

The Rising People’s Party further condemned the “divide and rule” policy of the NDPP-BJP coalition government, “whereby the ENPO has been utterly humiliated and made to lose credibility in the eyes of the Naga people.”
ENPO postpones General Session

Meanwhile, following consultations with the Tribal Councils, the ENPO has issued an emergency notification today stating that the ENPO CEC meeting and General Session scheduled for 13 and 14 June 2024 have been postponed until further notice. It is worth noting that the program for the general session scheduled for 14 June 2024 included the “Declaration of the selection/Nomination of the new team of ENPO executive council” to be made by the convener of the nominating committee, followed by short speeches by the outgoing president and incoming president.

Sources, wishing to remain anonymous, confided to this newspaper that the postponement signifies a significant development. According to sources, there have been attempts by some “groups of people with vested interest” to hastily convene the General Session in an attempt to oust the current ENPO executive council. Additionally, it has been revealed that there have been attempts to influence the decision regarding the 23 February 2023 Chenmoho Resolution.

ENPO urges calm
Additionally, in the same notification, in light of the arising situation, the Eastern Nagaland Peoples’ Organization (ENPO) has issued an urgent appeal today to all citizens of Eastern Nagaland to remain calm and maintain peace and tranquility.

While expressing appreciation for other intending ULB candidates who did not file nominations, the ENPO further urged them to remain calm in support of the cause of the movement.

All Tribal Councils were urged to deal with the situation very cautiously in order to avoid any misunderstanding and confrontation.

According to ENPO, by adhering to these directives, they can ensure stability and unity during this period.

Mokokchung Times

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