UNC decries Lui-Ngai-Ni poll date
Source: The Sangai Express

Imphal, January 01: Decrying the fixing of the second phase of polling of the 9th Assembly elections on February 15 which coincides with the Lui-Ngai-Ni festival, the biggest festival of the Nagas, the United Naga Council (UNC) has termed it an open insult to the Naga people.

Talking with The Sangai Express, UNC president Paul Leo said, "We have been observing silently the matter since the Election Commission announced the poll schedules on December 29 and we have not made any kind of complaint either to pre-pone or postpone the second phase of polling." Questioning the rationale behind fixing the polling date on the day of Lui-Ngai-Ni festival, Paul noted that it was a direct insult to the Naga people and an attempt to subdue the vibrant and spirited culture and tradition of the Nagas.

The UNC also flayed the State Election Office for its failure to intimate the Election Commission in advance of February 15 being the day of Lui-Ngai-Ni festival which is also a State holiday and the biggest festival of the Nagas.

Taking into account the appeals made by different political parties, Chief Election Commissioner N Gopalaswami, while addressing a press meet yesterday, had hinted that poll schedule of February 15 might be preponed to February 14.Concerning its campaign to elect only those candidates committed to the Naga cause, the UNC chief said, "So far the public response has been very encouraging and positive." After the campaign was completed in the District Hqs, the Council and its constituent units, divided into four groups, have been embarking on the same mission in the sub-divisions since January 3, informed Paul Leo.

"We are expecting to complete our campaign by January 10," said Paul while informing that many dynamic Naga candidates have been projected by people for the Assembly elections on independent tickets.

Moreover, an exclusive discussion programme would be held on January 15 with all the aspiring Naga candidates projected by the people under the aegis of UNC at Senapati (Tahamzam).

To a query, the UNC president observed that deployment of armed security personnel at all the polling stations as announced by the Election Commission of India can be interpreted in many ways.

It may help the ruling Congress party to indulge in various malpractices and resort to unfair means during poll.

"We don't want to comment much on it", he said.

Meanwhile the Naga National Party (NNP) has invited applications from all aspiring candidates intending to contest in the Assembly elections under NNP.

For the three phase elections, applications in plain papers should be submitted by Jan 12, 19 and 20 respectively.