SEC says all set for Nagaland ULB polls

State Election Commissioner, T John Longkumer; and nodal officers for ULB election, Limasunep Jamir, IPS, IGP (Range) and State Security officer; Secretary and State Government, Nodal Officer for ULB Election, Jamithung Lotha; and Secretary for State Election Commission, Nagaland Wonchio Odyuo, NCS during the press conference.

State Election Commissioner, T John Longkumer; and nodal officers for ULB election, Limasunep Jamir, IPS, IGP (Range) and State Security officer; Secretary and State Government, Nodal Officer for ULB Election, Jamithung Lotha; and Secretary for State Election Commission, Nagaland Wonchio Odyuo, NCS during the press conference.

Morung Express news 
Kohima | June 20 

Nagaland State Election Commissioner and retired DGP, T John Longkumer, IPS, today informed that security and other election related processes are in place and on schedule for the upcoming ULB polls set to be held on June 26. 

Addressing a press conference after the State Election Commission (SEC) held a meeting with the nodal officers for the elections, he informed that 523 candidates out of 670 who filed their nominations are contesting for the ULB elections 2024 set to be held on June 26. So far, 64 candidates have been issued certificates after being elected unopposed, while 79 have withdrawn nominations, and 4 have been rejected. 

After a wait of 20 years since the last ULB elections in 2004, Longkumer said now, all issues, both traditional, customary and political, have been resolved amicably among all stakeholders and that is the reason the whole country, including the judiciary, is also looking at this election very closely. 

He appealed for calm, free and fair election and urged all to abstain from all forms of violence. 

The polling on June 26 will begin at 7:30 am and conclude at 4:00 pm. He informed that the closure at 4:00 pm may be extended on the condition that that there is queue and voters are within the premises of the polling station. 

Out of 670 nominations filed, the SEC informed that there were 587 valid nominations as on June 18. Among the nominations scrutinized, 4 were said to have been rejected for falling short of some documents. The rejected nominations included 1 from Dimapur Municipal Council, 1 from Atoizu Town Council and 2 from Shamator Town. 

As per the SEC, 64 candidates have been elected unopposed, including 45 NDPP, 5 NCP, 7 BJP, 2 NPF, 3 INC and 2 independent candidates. 79 nominations were subsequently withdrawn. Longkumer informed that there are a total of 2,76,229 voters including 1,36,062 males and 1,42,167 females.

Longkumer said that as per the Supreme Court standing order, the State Election Commission through the State Government has given a list of events and schedules to the Supreme Court in the context of the ULB elections. 

Longkumer expressed confidence that the state would be able to stick to the timeline given by the Supreme Court and hoped that the elections will be completed as per schedule. He meanwhile added that the SEC is ready for any number of re-polls if required. 

With regard to the issue taken up to the High Court on inclusion of names in the electoral roll post the due time, the retired DGP clarified that the HC has ruled and dismissed this petition. Other legal issues he touched on were regarding candidates and their indigenous inhabitant status in Nagaland. Although so far, no written complaint was received by the commission, it went to take suo moto cognizance, it being an issue on public interest, he said. He said the commission has studied the case and concluded that indigenous certificates are issued by the State Government not by the EC; and is beyond the purview of the commission to comment upon. 

With regard to the Eastern districts where several nominations have been withdrawn, the SEC said that it will re-examine issues after the election is over as it concerns not only the commission but the State Government also. 

Regarding legal issues, he said, if required, the commission will refer to the concerned state authorities so that a clear idea can be found made on how to move forward. 

With regard to another written complaint, Longkumer said that the DCs and ROs have been informed and a response is awaited.

3 tier security to monitor poll security 
Limasunep Jamir, IPS, IGP (Range) and State Security officer informed that a 3 tier security system has been formed. Jamir informed that as of now the security dynamics solely focuses on the western sectors with 8 districts. 

Out of 278 wards and 530 polling stations, a security categorisation has been made demarcating them into 90 normal, 209 sensitive and 229 hyper sensitive polling stations. Based on the classification, armed police component as well as civil guides will be provided on polling day, the security officer said. 

Accordingly, multilayer security has been prepared. The first includes the polling station security where along with the election party, state police forces will be provided in the premises, Jamir said. 

The IGP said the 8 districts have been divided into 111 sectors, inclusive of the sector commander and sector magistrate which will be supplemented by component of 2 sectors of IRB force as tracking force to respond to any exigencies and emergencies. 

He also informed that there is an NTR team as well as a striking force which will be over and above the first two layers of security. A total of 108 companies are being utilized which includes 29 companies of NAP, 38 companies of IRB and 41 companies of the district executive force. A total of 8,100 personnel are being deployed. 

He informed that during pre-poll, the security will look into patrolling or area domination, and the district forces have been made available since yesterday. They will check any form of possession or transfer of contraband substances, bootlegging among others. Jamir said during such time when the MCC is in place, it is not permitted to carry any arms even with possession of card. 

A joint control room has also been setup in all the districts to monitor day to day situation. 

"We are amply prepared with adequate number of forces and will take all measures possible in order to ensure that there is no breakdown of law and there is no violence," he said. 

The IGP further stated that on the day of the polling, any kind of influences, impersonation, bribery, or manners to influence the election will be taken care as per the law. 

"With the promulgation of the election duties, Section 188 IPC is applicable and all relevant sections as per the law will be devised. Any trouble mongers who try to unduly influence, action will be taken against them," he said. 

He further informed that the counting day security comprises of NAP and IR in all the counting centres. He expressed confidence that the state security forces will be able to deliver a peaceful election and appealed all participants of the election including voters, contestants and agents to adhere to the rule of law and ensure free, fair and peaceful election. 

Secretary and State Government, Nodal Officer for ULB Election, Jamithung Lotha said since the election is being closely monitored by the Supreme Court, the government will not take any chances. 

Secretary for State Election Commission, Nagaland, Wonchio Odyuo, NCS also highlighted that as per the preparations, everything is on track with all training completed for the polling personnel, Returning officers and detailment of polling officials set. 

The commission further informed that the prohibition of public meeting will come in place 48 hours before the polling day. This will be enforced by the civil and police administration. 

The commission also acknowledged the Deputy Commissioners, Returning Officers, Superintendents of Police and district administrations, including those officials involved in the ensuing election for continuously rendering duty since the Lok Sabha election. 

The breakup of male and female candidates in fray both in reserved and unreserved seats were in process of being by the SEC during the time the press conference was held.