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The ruling Nationalist Democratic Progressive Party (NDPP) said the Centre’s recent notification on delimitation exercise in Nagaland is not in consonance with the prevailing situation in the state.

“Things may get complicated if the exercise is followed purely on the laid-down guidelines on delimitation,” the media and communication committee of the party stated on Sunday.

The NDPP, a major alliance partner of the People’s Democratic Alliance (PDA) government of which BJP is a part, urged the state government to urgently take up the matter with the Centre.

The NDPP also urged the Centre to present the unique case of the state to avoid misunderstandings and complications in the future.

The Centre also notified for carrying out delimitation exercise in three other northeastern states of Assam, Arunachal Pradesh and Manipur.

The NDPP said the delimitation exercise of 2008 based on the 2001 census excluded the four northeastern states because of various reasons and according to the prevailing situations in the states at that point of time.

The party said the state’s population census of 2001 was questioned by various quarters at that point of time as there were population explosions in many areas which were as high as 300 per cent over the 1991 census.

It added the tribal hohos and various civil society organisations had raised objections to the procedure in which the delimitation process was to be carried out, which eventually led to the filing of various litigations in the Supreme Court on the issue.

The Centre, on the basis of these facts and evidence submitted to it, suspended all delimitation related exercises in Nagaland till further notice.

“Therefore, Nagaland was excluded because of these reasons and not because of insurgency or law and order related situation as has been notified in the Gazette of India dated 28th February 2020,” the NDPP said.

However, as per February 28, 2020, gazette notification of the government of India on delimitation exercise, Nagaland was excluded because of the ongoing political talks on the Naga issue, the party said.

It said the present notification of the Centre to proceed with the delimitation exercise in Nagaland may not be conducive with the present situation prevailing in the state.

The party said this citing that the Naga political talks have reached an advanced stage and the people are awaiting the possible inking of the final settlement.

The party said with the likelihood of an increase in the number of seats in the Assembly and the Lok Sabha in the state in the event of a final settlement, it will definitely be in conflict with any delimitation exercise taken up at this juncture.

“The tribal equity and dynamics of district representations are also crucial factors involved in the process of delimitation,” it said.

The party said it is imperative to first hold widespread consultations taking on board all tribal bodies, political parties, mass-based organisations, NGOs and all other stakeholders for any process that will affect these dynamics.

It said their views and opinions before such an important exercise is important.

The party also said it would be futile to conduct the delimitation process based on previous population censuses when a new census is to be carried out in the coming months and year.

Bhadra Gogoi

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