Kiren Rijiju appeals to people of Nagaland to participate in polls

New Delhi: Union minister Kiren Rijiju today appealed to the people of Nagaland to participate in the forthcoming Assembly elections, saying the central government was committed to an early solution to the decades-old insurgency problem.

In a statement, Rijiju appealed to the political and civil society groups of Nagaland to participate in the February 27 polls in the state and to withdraw their declaration to boycott the democratic process. “The union government is sensitive to the popular sentiment of Naga people and is committed to an early solution to their issue,” he said.

Rijiju, who is also BJP’s election in-charge for Nagaland, assured the people of Nagaland that the government will implement the solution as soon as it is finalised. The minister of state for home earlier had said that the elections are a constitutional process and the central government is bound by the Constitution.

His comments come after several parties in Nagaland decided not to contest the elections, agreeing to the demand of tribal bodies and civil society groups that the Naga political problem be resolved first. Under the aegis of the Core Committee of the Nagaland Tribal Hohos and Civil Organisations (CCNTHCO), several political parties in Nagaland decided not to contest the February 27 polls.

Civil society groups in Nagaland have also launched a campaign ‘Solution before Election’. Expectations for lasting peace soared in Nagaland, which had been hit by insurgency for decades, after the Centre and the NSCN-IM signed a framework agreement in 2015.

The National Socialist Council of Nagaland (Isak-Muivah) has been engaged in peace talks with the interlocutor of the central government since 1997, when it announced a ceasefire agreement after a bloody insurgency movement which started in Nagaland soon following the country’s independence.

During a visit to the state in November 2017, President Ram Nath Kovind had said the state was at the threshold of making history as a final agreement on the Naga political issue would soon be arrived at and lasting peace achieved.