Nagaland: Contradicting views over civic polls

Dimapur: Even as the Nagaland Government and Naga civil society organisations passed a resolution to conduct urban local body elections in the state with reservations for women, there emerged contradicting views on holding the polls.

While the Naga Mothers Association on Saturday hailed the decision of the March 9 consultative meeting between the Nagaland government and civil society organisations to hold the civic body elections with reservation for women, the Association of Kohima Municipal Wards Panchayat (AKMWP) said the Nagaland Municipal Act should be rectified or amended before holding the polls.

The consultative meeting in Kohima on March 9, organised by the state government, unanimously decided to hold the civic body polls as per the 74th Amendment Act of the Constitution of India which provides for 30% reservation of seats for women, The resolution was appended by chief minister Neiphiu Rio, deputy chief minister Y Patton, chairperson of the United Democratic Alliance (UDA) TR Zeliang and over 200 individuals representing the government and stakeholders present at the meeting.

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Conveying deep appreciation to the chief minister, UDA chairman, deputy chief minister, leaders of tribe organisations, gaon burhas (village heads), civil societies and the political parties for the resolution to implement the 74th Amendment Act, the NMA hoped that the long-overdue municipal elections will be held peacefully to ensure the development of the towns and municipals.

Calling for rectifying or amending the Nagaland Municipal Act before holding the urban local body elections, the AKMWP president Thejao Sekhose told reporters in Kohima yesterday that the Act was based on mainland India and some of its provisions were against Naga culture.

Accusing the state government of not consulting the stakeholders before adopting the Municipal Act, Sekhose said the Act is a copy of a similar Act in Gujarat and required modification as it infringed Article 371(A) of the Constitution that provides special provisions for Nagaland.

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He also clarified that they are not against holding the civic body polls and they should be conducted as soon as possible.

“Instead of election first, let the amendment be done the first,” he said.

Sekhose said the AKMWP will hold a meeting soon to deliberate on the issue.

Bhadra Gogoi

Bhadra Gogoi is Northeast Now Correspondent in Nagaland. He can be reached at: bhadragogoi@yahoo.com