Jan 17, 2007

Nagalim: Naga Candidates Expected to Make the Ticket

The United Naga Council (UNC) announced it is prepared to introduce 13 Naga candidates to the ballot for upcoming regional elections in February.

Below is an article published by The Telegraph:

The United Naga Council (UNC) is all set to field 13 Independent candidates in the four Naga-dominated districts of Manipur for the February Assembly elections. The apex body of tribal groups will intensify its campaign for integration of all Naga-inhabited areas under one administrative unit.

During his visit to the state last month, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh ruled out integration of Naga-inhabited areas at the cost of Manipur.

President of the apex Naga organisation in Manipur K.S. Paul Leo said, “Everything will be finalised in the next few days. As of now, no final decision has been taken. The names of the candidates will be announced soon.”  

Sixty aspiring candidates, along with their political agents and family members, attended a meeting convened by the UNC at the Senapati district headquarters yesterday. The candidates signed an eight-point declaration drafted by the Naga body.

They declared that they would back UNC candidates on behalf of the Naga people, support the Naga peace talks and not join any other party without the consent of the Naga people. Leo said over phone that the aspiring candidates promised that once elected, they would work for the integration of all Naga-inhabited areas.

The UNC felt that Naga legislators elected on party tickets could not work for the “Naga cause”.

Those who attended included the five Naga MLAs who had recently resigned from their respective national and regional parties.

Earlier the UNC, in a “position paper”, had asked all the Naga political leaders to quit their parties and urged voters to support only Independent candidates who supported the “Naga cause.”

The four Naga-dominated districts — Ukhrul, Senapati, Tamenglong and Chandel — include 14 constituencies. Of these, Senapati has the highest number, six. Before the five legislators put in their papers, there were 11 Naga MLAs in the 60-member Assembly.

However, none of the Congress legislators and the party’s ticket aspirants turned up at the meeting, the UNC chief said. Though the Manipur PCC preferred to remain silent, Congress chief Gaikhangam’s Nungba Congress block committee said the move by the UNC would create fissures in Naga society.

In a statement, the local Congress unit demanded that people be allowed to choose their representatives freely.