No coercion to voters from militants


Kohima, February 25: Except few reports of militants demanding cash from candidates, by and large there was no report of their involvement in the election process this time.
So far there was no report of coercion or intimidation by militants, but there are few reports of demand for money from candidates by militants.
Since the Union Government and the NSCN (IM) signed a truce in 1997, militants have been actively involving in the electoral politics, different factions favouring political parties.
In 2003 state general election, Naga People’s Front (NPF) along with non-Congress parties and NSCN (IM) wrestled power from the Congress, which was then branded as anti-Naga party.
Involvement of militants in 2003 election was unprecedented. Their involvement was provoked by Congress forcibly participating in 1998 elections despite deferment call given by Naga NGOs led by the Naga Hoho and non-Congress parties, including the BJP.
Till 2013 Naga NGOs and NSCN (IM) have been supportive of the NPF and non-Congress parties. Other factions have accused NPF of having nexus with NSCN (IM).
In contrary to 1998, this time Congress, which is at its lowest ebb, wanted to stay away from the poll taking the pretext of NGOs and militant groups demanding solution before election.
NSCN (IM) said they will not force people to boycott the elections, but the participation of some cadres in the India democratic process is visible as names of many cadres are in the electoral roll. No outfit has issued directive to their cadres not to participate in the elections.
NSCN (IM) sources said there were no such directive to their cadres not to exercise their adult franchise in this election and did not rule out cadres casting their votes.
There were reports of sporadic incidents in some places in Mokokchung and Wokha, while in other districts situation remains by and large peaceful.
Candidates are making their last ditch effort to woo the voters as campaign for the February 27 ends Sunday afternoon. Candidates and their agents are also paying house to house visit.
There are also reports of candidates paying huge cash to voters – a do or die effort. Even if clean election campaign is showing result still stakes are high to win the elections as candidates are doling out crores of rupees to buy votes. It is still an expensive clean election in many constituencies. (Page News Service)