The Election Commission (EC) on Tuesday said the Nagaland Assembly election would be held as per the schedule.
This was revealed by an EC delegation, led by Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) A K Joti, along with election commissioners O P Rawat and Sunil Arora, Deputy Election Commissioner Sudeep Jain and Director General Dilip Sharma, while interacting with reporters here. "The term of the Nagaland Assembly is due to expire in March, 2018 and before that, the elections will be held," Joti said, adding that the dates would be announced after considering all the related aspects.
The EC had the mandate to hold the polls six months before the term of the Nagaland Assembly ended, he said, while affirming that "it (the polls) will definitely be held as per the schedule and that is why, the commission is in the state to review the preparedness for a free-and-fair election".
Asked if the poll panel was aware of the general perception of the people of Nagaland, whether the state government had informed it that a "solution" was more important than an election and if that solution to the Naga political issue should be arrived at before announcing the polls, the CEC replied in the negative. "We have neither met the chief minister, nor has the government informed us about such issues," Joti said. He added that all the registered political parties of the state, including both the factions of the Naga People's Front (NPF), had met the EC delegation.
On the current crisis within the ruling NPF -- two factions, led by Shurhozelie Liezietsu and Neiphiu Rio respectively, claiming the ownership of the party nomenclature and its poll symbol -- Joti said, "We have received applications from both the factions. It is a quasi-judicial matter, on which a decision will be taken only after hearing both the parties."
The EC delegation was in Kohima on a two-day official visit since yesterday to review the preparations for the state polls. During the visit, the delegation held closed-door meetings with all the recognised political parties of the state, the chief secretary, deputy commissioners and superintendents of police on various issues pertaining to the election.