The Nagaland Pradesh Congress Committee (NPCC) on March 16 called for a “nonpartisan democracy election” for the urban local bodies in the state.
By “nonpartisan democracy election”, the NPCC meant the political parties will not nominate candidates but the wards concerned will be allowed to choose their leaders through consensus and cooperation.
The State Election Commission of Nagaland notified civic body election with 33 per cent reservation of seats for women on May 16.
In a letter to chief minister Neiphiu Rio, Pradesh Congress president K Therie said “nonpartisan election” is the inherent custom in Nagaland which is followed in village council elections.
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“We have experienced that elections in Nagaland are purely fought on money while in other nations, they choose leaders and manifestos,” he stated.
According to him, the outcome of urban local body elections will be no different from assembly elections if the political parties are involved in them.
Therie said the urban local bodies in the state have 416 wards and if three candidates contest on an average like the assembly elections, the economy of over 1,200 candidates may be impacted.
This will lead to economic chaos and corruption at the grassroots levels, he said.
Stating that the urban local body election in Nagaland has become a compulsion due to the Supreme Court directive, Therie pointed to the protests in the run-up to the civic body elections in 2017 with 33% reservation of seats for women. He said the protests that led to the death of two youths, the burning of the heritage Nagaland Legislative Assembly complex and forced then chief minister TR Zeliang to resign are still fresh.
Therie, however, said Congress always stood for reservation for women in urban local body elections.
“Gender equality shown in our custom needs to be reviewed in the spirit of our faith and progressive civilisation. They should be at liberty to participate in the process of decision-making to secure maximum justice and equality,” he said.
Therie further said Article 371 (A) that provides special status to Nagaland is not to prevent liberty, justice and equality and progressive life, adding it is to safeguard and protect inherent properties and virtues of the Nagas.
“Allowing women to participate is only doing justice,” he said.
The Congress further called for doing away with "house and property tax" and urged the government to explore other resources.
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