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All set for ULB elections in Nagaland, sans ENPO area

Nagaland News

2.23 lakh electorates to decide fate of 523 candidates today

KOHIMA, JUNE 25: All preparations have been put in place for tomorrow’s urban local bodies elections in Nagaland.
Nagaland has 3 Municipal Councils and 36 Town Councils.
It is after 20 years that the elections to ULBs are going to take place as the last elections were held in 2004.
This ULB election is also historic as it will be held for the first time with 33% women reservation and also removal of urban taxes on land and properties.
A total of 2,23,636 electorates, 1,10,115 male and 1,13,521 female will be exercising their franchise to decide the fate of 523 candidates of 11 political parties for 214 wards.
Of the 523 candidates, 325 are male and 198 female.
NDPP has the highest number of candidates at 178, BJP 44, Congress 37, NPP 22, NPF 21, NCP 15, JD (U) 9, RPI (Athawale) 7, LJP 7, Rising Peoples’ Party 1 and Independent 182.
Voting will commence at 7:30 a.m. and conclude at 4 p.m., and counting of votes will be done on June 29.
The 420 polling stations spread over the 214 wards have been categorized into hyper sensitive, sensitive and normal.
At least 8t security personnel will guard the hyper sensitive polling stations, 6 for sensitive and 5 for normal polling stations.
Each of the polling stations will have at least 4 polling personnel with 1 officer, 2 assistant polling officers and a Grade-IV staff, officials said.
Meanwhile, polling personnel have already reached the respective polling stations and all arrangements have been put in place for the peaceful conduct of the polls on Wednesday, the official said.
The State Government has declared the poll day as a general holiday to facilitate people to exercise their franchise in huge numbers.
The Eastern Nagaland People’s Organisation (ENPO) area with 14 Town Councils has decided not to participate in the ULB elections. While 59 nominations were filed, the respective tribal Councils of the area compelled the candidates to withdraw it.
ENPO’s decision is in protest against the non-fulfillment of its demand for Frontier Nagaland Statehood by the Central Government.
Backgrounder: Nagaland enacted its Municipal Act in 2001, and the first ULB elections were held in 2004 without reservation for women. The government issued a notification for the next ULB polls in 2012, but they could not be held following objections from tribal bodies, which opposed the quota and certain clauses in the Municipal Act.
In September the same year, the Assembly passed a resolution to exempt the state from the Constitution’s Article 243T, which deals with the quota for women, but revoked it in 2016.
In 2017, the State Government attempted to hold polls with 33% reservation for women, but it backfired.
Protesters attacked and set ablaze Government buildings in parts of the State. Powerful tribal organisations contended that reservation for women was an infringement on Naga customary laws, as enshrined in Article 371(A) of the Constitution, which protects the State’s traditional way of life.
In the wake of the violence, the then Chief Minister TR Zeliang had to resign and the State Government declared the poll process null and void. Later, a few women’s organisations moved the High Court and then the Supreme Court regarding the matter.
Last year, the apex Court directed the Nagaland State Election Commission to notify the polls and hold them with a 33% quota for women. The State Government paved the way for the polls by making certain amendments to the Municipal Act.
(Page News Service & TNIE)