Kohima, December 13
Chief Minister T R Zeliang has informed that the state cabinet would be meeting to discuss the recent 15-day ultimatum issued jointly by Naga Hoho and ENPO to restore the September 22, 2012 resolution adopted by the 11th Nagaland Legislative Assembly, which exempted Part IX A (2) (3) on 33 per cent women reservation, under Article 371A (1) (a) of the Constitution of India.
Interacting with media persons on the side lines of the advent Christmas programme for legislators held at the State Banquet Hall at Kohima last night, Zeliang appeared determined to chase after the political and financial benefits of holding civic polls despite strong opposition against the hasty decision from apex tribal bodies of Nagaland.
He sought to question the decision of the Naga Hoho over the ultimatum by saying that it should be unanimous along with its other constituent tribes from the United Naga Council (UNC) of Manipur.
He further questioned the locus standi of the Naga Hoho comprising of only five tribal Hohos (Angami, Chakhesang, Rengma, Zeliang and Pochury) in making the decision without inviting all constituent tribes under UNC since the latter was part of the Hoho. With the exclusion of three tribes of Nagaland, Lotha Hoho, Ao Senden and Sumi Hoho, Zeliang said Naga Hoho with only five tribes without UNC did not even constitute one-third of the total. He, therefore, termed it as “Naga Hoho of Nagaland” and that it could not be a decision of Naga Hoho. When asked if the same applied to Eastern Nagaland Peoples Organization, Zeliang said ENPO should invite all constituent units after which they should pass such a resolution.
He, however, claimed that most towns in eastern Nagaland were willing to hold civic polls.
Zeliang said ENPO has to seek the consent of village units who constitute the tribal Hoho and so without their consent, no such decision can be taken. He also disclosed that the Government had tried on many occasions to convince the Naga Mother’s Association (NMA) to withdraw its SLP in the Supreme Court but failed.
He said Naga Hoho was also going to meet NMA on this issue. On the other hand, if NMA withdrew its case then there would be no issue but unless the Supreme Court pass an order, “we cannot move an inch”, he said.
The chief minister also said if notification for civic polls was issued than NMA was prepared to withdraw its case, but even if it does not and since the state has agreed to conduct polls, the case would be in fructuous. When asked why had the government taken a hasty step in pre-empting the court decision by agreeing to conduct civic polls with 33 per cent women reservation, Zeliang said after the SLP was admitted, the hearing would take place “sooner or later and our contention was, why wait for the directive from the court?”
Zeliang pointed out that following the directive of the court in 2005 on the state government to include women reservation, the Legislative assembly had in 2006 passed an amendment to the Nagaland Municipal Act 2001. However, in 2012 the Legislative Assembly passed a resolution against implementing 33 per cent women reservation, which was then challenged in court by the NMA. He explained the volte face by saying “we could not touch, cannot amend neither go ahead. That was why we decided to go ahead with the election with reservation.”
Kohima, December 13