Govt cannot allow constitutional crisis if civil societies do not participate in election : Rio
Nagaland CM Neiphiu Rio Credit: File image

Kohima: Nagaland Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio Tuesday said that the state government cannot allow any constitutional crisis in the event of civil societies remaining firm on not participating in the coming state assembly election if there is no solution to the Naga issue.

The solution to the protracted Naga Political Issue (NPI) depends on the negotiating parties and the legislators and general people can only put pressure for an early outcome, he told media persons at a programme after a programme at Meriema.

He welcomed the joint statement of the stakeholders NSCN-IM and Naga National Political Groups declaring “unconditional commitment” to collaborate for the resolution of Naga political issue with the Centre.

Asked about the legislators’ stand if the civil societies remain firm on its stand unless there is a solution to the protracted Naga political issue, Rio said “We cannot allow any constitutional crisis and create a law and order problem. Right-thinking persons should pursue the issue by the rule.” He has already said on several occasions that if there is no solution to the Naga political issue and the state election is announced, the present legislators and political parties in the state will contest the poll. The state election is due by March.

Rio said, “Everybody wants a solution. But that will depend on the negotiating parties and not the general public … The general public can put pressure. The 60 legislators who are acting as facilitators are putting pressure too and are reasoning with everybody. But the outcome will depend on the negotiating parties.”

On the state government’s appeal to Eastern Nagaland Peoples’ Organisation to reconsider its decision to boycott the state election to press for its ‘Frontier Nagaland’ state demand, Rio hoped that they would respond in a “positive manner”.

The Centre has been holding separate negotiations with NSCN-IM since 1997 and the Working Committee of Naga National Political Group (NNPG), comprising at least seven groups, since 2017. It inked the Framework Agreement with NSCN-IM in 2015 and Agreed Position with NNPGs in 2017. While NNPGs have agreed to accept a solution and continue negotiating further demands, the final solution is yet to be attained with NSCN-IM remaining adamant on its demand for a separate flag and constitution for the Nagas.

On Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma’s comment that there were some issues to be cleared about the NDPP-BJP seat-sharing agreement in Nagaland which could be finalised by BJP central leadership by January 19, Rio asserted that the 40:20 seat-sharing formula between the NDPP and BJP for the ensuing state election is firm.

The Nagaland chief minister is likely to leave for Delhi on Wednesday.

Also read | Farmers’ market on outskirts of Kohima to promote local produce

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