Nagaland: ENPO explains decision to abstain from LS polls in letter to ECI

Black Flag being hoisted in Tuensang as ‘symbol of solidarity’ over ongoing ENPO’s demand and showing “dissatisfaction’ over  the failure of the Union Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India, to fulfil its commitments for Frontier Nagaland Territory. (Morung Photo)

Black Flag being hoisted in Tuensang as ‘symbol of solidarity’ over ongoing ENPO’s demand and showing “dissatisfaction’ over the failure of the Union Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India, to fulfil its commitments for Frontier Nagaland Territory. (Morung Photo)

Tuensang, April 1 (MExN): The Eastern Nagaland Peoples' Organisation (ENPO) has written to the Election Commission of India (ECI) explaining its position to refrain from participating in upcoming Lok Sabha elections and requested for necessary arrangements to accommodate its abstention.

In the letter addressed to the Chief Election Commissioner, the ENPO informed that the people of Eastern Nagaland under its aegis had reaffirmed its commitment to the "Chenmoho Resolution" on March 19, 2024 and had resolved not to participate in any Central and State elections against the failure to settle the creation of Frontier Nagaland Territory (FNT) as offered and assured by the MHA (Ministry of Home Affairs) on December 7, 2023. 

The Chenmoho Resolution was passed on February 23, 2024.

According to the ENPO, the MHA on December 7 had assured to settle the issue of the FNT before the announcement of the Model Code of Conduct (MCC) for the Lok Sabha 2024 by the ECI. 

However, despite numerous reminders through letters and mass public rallies, the MHA turned its deaf ear and finally MCC was announced by the ECI, it noted.  

Accordingly, the Eastern Nagaland populace feels compelled to take this “course of action as a means of expressing our collective discontentment,” it elaborated. 

The ENPO also underscored that the decision to abstain from participating in any Central and State electoral process must not be taken lightly as it reflects the sentiments and aspirations of the Eastern Nagaland people who have tirelessly advocated for their rights and aspirations within the framework of democratic governance. 

“The ‘Chenmoho Resolution’ represents a unanimous consensus among the Eastern Nagaland populace, and we reiterate our absolute, unconditional, unwavering commitment to uphold it,” it asserted. 

The ENPO also stressed that the decision to abstain from polls is not “intended as an act of defiance against the electoral machinery or the principles of democracy.”

Rather, it is a principled stance taken within the framework of the Constitution of India aimed at drawing attention to the legitimate grievances and aspirations of the Eastern Nagaland people, it maintained.

Accordingly, it requested the ECI through the Nagaland Chief Electoral Officer to “take note of our decision and make necessary arrangements to accommodate our abstention from the upcoming Lok Sabha elections.” 

In the letter to the ECI via CEO Nagaland, the Organisation also expressed hope that Government of India would heed to its concerns and take concrete steps towards addressing the longstanding issue of the FNT. 

Totally behind ENPO’s ‘Just Movement’: NPCC

Dimapur, April 1 (MExN): The Nagaland Congress today expressed its strong belief that the demand of ENPO (Eastern Nagaland Peoples' Organisation) is “genuine and we are totally behind them in this Just Movement.”

However, it also attributed recent press statement by its former president K Therie regarding the issue his “personal opinion and should in no way be construed as our official party position.”

Nevertheless, in a press release from its Communications Department, the NPCC stated that it stands behind the ENPO in the realisation that their demand.

It is the result of a history of serious grievances, and is coming from a place of drastic trust deficit, it noted. 

The fact that successive governments during the last decade or so in the State as well as the Centre has managed to only widen the dissonance with their complete lack of empathy and abject political mediocrity, it maintained. 

Meanwhile, the NPCC also acknowledged the merits of the concerns raised by a section of the political class in the State regarding the manner and the style of the intervention adopted by ENPO, it contended that the “lack of viable platforms available to them to escalate their demand within the ambit of conventional democratic norms.”

The NPCC had time and again underscored the perils of promoting a governance system built on the premises of a plan that does not accord adequate space for the opposition bench, it said. 

“We believe is one of the major reasons for the ENPO's current choice of agitation,” it added.

The only way forward, the NPCC stated, is to ensure a closure that keeps the “dignity and aspirations of our sisters and brothers from ENPO areas should be one where their voice takes the sole and final call.”

Accordingly, the NPCC implored upon the Government of India to accept the demand put forth by the ENPO, and to refrain from taking any steps that is in contravention to spirit of the ENPO resolutions.