Nagaland boycotts upcoming civic polls, 140 candidates withdraw out fear of harassment

The withdrawals in Nagaland came after instructions were issued by tribal bodies to the candidates to refrain from contesting elections

The tribal bodies in Nagaland have boycotted the upcoming Urban Local Bodies (ULB) elections opposing the constitutional provision of 33 per cent reservation of seats in civic polls. In the past one week, 140 candidates have withdrawn their names from the elections out fear of getting harassed.

Reports say that 72 proposed candidates rolled back their decision to contest the civic polls on 17 January, the last date to withdraw the nomination. Earlier, 68 candidates had withdrawn their names.

Four town councils namely Pfutsero, Chumukdema, Chozuba and Mangplemba saw the withdrawal of all these candidates.

The withdrawals came on the face of instructions issued by tribal bodies on the intending candidates to refrain from the election. Many of the tribal bodies also mentioned in the orders that candidates failing to withdraw might face social discrimination, boycott or social exclusion.

Dr Rosemary Dzuvichu, advisor to the Naga Mothers Association (NMA), an apex body of women viewed that Naga society has a deep-rooted gender-based discrimination and violence towards women and these civic polls have proved it.

Clarifying that the Joint Action Committee for Women Reservation had conducted several consultations with the tribe organizations, Dzuvichu said that the present upheaval is basically to make them think about the question of insecurity, of being unable to change the mindsets.

Only 482 candidates now have remained as being validly nominated for the polls. Meanwhile, the Central Nagaland Tribes Council showed dismay saying that some non-Nagaland Nagas from neighboring states have also filed nominations.

Meanwhile, the CNTC is annoyed by the 33 per cent women reservation has demanded immediate postponement of the ULB elections.

The Naga Council Dimapur informed that February 15 is the deadline for the withdrawal of nominations in Dimapur Nagaland.