The Nagaland Gaon Bura Federation has expressed its reservation about the conduct of the urban local body (ULB) elections in Nagaland. The federation believes that it is not the will of the Nagas to hold the civic body polls at this stage. The ULB elections are scheduled for May 16 in the state with 33% reservation of seats for women.
In a release, the federation highlighted its concerns about the backdrop of complaints from tribal hohos and civil society organisations over the elections. The State Election Commission of Nagaland had issued notification for the conduct of elections to three municipal councils and 36 town councils in the state. The Nagaland government has stated that the state authorities are duty-bound to conduct the urban local body elections as notified, as per the directive of the Supreme Court.
The federation has criticised the Supreme Court directive, stating that it is an outcome of the failure to convince the court on the political negotiations between the Government of India and Naga national political groups. It has called on the concerned party to take responsibility for it. The federation added that the Naga political solution between the Naga political groups and the government of India has been discussed in all the forums, including that of Nagaland legislators.
“We are made to understand that the formation of bicameral house and Federal Hoho and the structuring of the administration of the Federal Hoho would be decided after the political solution. Therefore, conducting the local body election at this stage is not the full will of the Nagas,” the federation said in its release.
The federation also stated that the Naga customary law, as per the agreed terms of 1960, does not warrant the creation of urban local bodies. It added that the village, area and range councils alone can be made operational. According to the federation, the agreement of 1960 between the government of India and the Naga People’s Convention addressed the formation of a legislative assembly in Nagaland with separation of powers from the Parliament of India.
The village chiefs body said section (9) (2) of the Nagaland Municipal Act 2001 that divides the villages into wards and section 21(2) of the Act “do not fit into the scheme of Article 371 (A) (1) (a)” and added that infringing it in any manner is not encouraged.
However, the federation said that it is in support of any developmental initiatives of the government for the betterment of the public and the urban local bodies are no exception.
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