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ECI agrees to delay poll announcement for few days

Staff Reporter DIMAPUR, JAN 12 (NPN)
Published on 12 Jan. 2018 11:38 PM IST
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A gainst the backdrop of appeals on the Government of India for “Solution before Election” for which assembly elections scheduled in February 2018 is sought to be deferred; highly placed sources informed Nagaland Post that Government of India was willing to consider the plea. 
Sources informed that the Centre’s Interlocutor for Naga Talks, R.N. Ravi, keeping in mind the appeal of the civil society groups and the plea of the two Naga negotiating parties-- NSCN (I-M) and NNPGs Working Group- to defer the scheduled polls, has requested the Election Commission of India to delay announcement of election schedule for a few days. 
In response, the ECI had reportedly agreed to delay announcement of poll schedule for Nagaland for a few days after which the notification will be announced.
The polls could only be deferred if the government of India received a positive guarantee from the two negotiating Naga groups, that they were ready to sign an agreement within a stipulated period. However, Ravi had made it clear to both the Naga groups that election was a constitutional obligation and cannot be put off indefinitely.
In a scenario where President’s Rule is imposed, if election is deferred before the tenure of the present 12th NLA comes to an end by March 13, 2018, the negotiating parties would have only few months to sign the agreement. Any period beyond two months of PR will have to go to parliament for extension but in the Rajya Sabha, the BJP does not have the numbers to get the nod.
Sources said unless Centre is convinced by the assurances that the signed agreement with the Naga groups can be achieved within the “limited time” period, it will be extremely cautious before deferring polls to avoid criticisms and embarrassment. 
Primary concern is that the negotiating parties should first be able assure the Centre that they are ready for solution within a specific period, sources said.
It may be pointed out that the Election Commission of India (ECI) was expected to announce the schedule for election to Nagaland, Meghalaya and Tripura on January 12. However after agreeing to delay the announcement because of the demands by Nagas, the onus will be on the Naga groups to give the undertaking.

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