Nagaland assembly elections 2018: As polls to the Nagaland assembly near, issues concerning people in this northeast state have started to attract eyeballs and the attention of political parties now more than ever. Among the raft of relevant issues, jobs and the challenge posed by Naga groups top the list of priorities for national political parties to address and impeccable strategies are being drawn to secure a favourable mandate. Polling is likely to be held in Nagaland on February 27 and results are scheduled to be declared on March 3. While BJP is banking on PM Narendra Modi and party President Amit Shah to clinch the contest for it, Congress, once a ruling force, has been trying to stitch an alliance for the upcoming polls.
Youths want jobs
People in Nagaland, especially youths, say they will choose the cleanest candidates as they need jobs more than anything else. As of October 2016, over 70,000 educated, unemployed youth were listed in the ‘Life Register’, which is the employment register of the state Department of Labour and Employment. Youths have been appearing in a number of competitive exams. The age limit for the Nagaland Public Service Commission is 35. Largely dependent upon the government for jobs in the absence of investments, an ugent change is what the stae’s youth see as the top priority. Political instability is what the state’s youth see as the crux of the problem, reports The Indian Express, and the security issues that are hampering investment and job opportunities, its manifestation.
Naga groups and accord
The Modi government is going all out to ensure that Assembly elections take place in Nagaland. It has assured that all options, including re-elections in Nagaland, are open, provided an accord is finalised with NSCN (IM) and other Naga groups. A central government official said that this was still under discussion, reported The Indian Express. The government said that there are a few options that the government is looking at and that the Centre has sought an opinion from the rebel groups. The central government has also said that armed cadres may be absorbed after arriving at a solution.
Notably, a framework agreement was signed between NSCN (IM) and the central government in 2015. However, three years later, Naga groups, political parties and NSCN (IM) demanded the Centre should first finalise the accord and then hold polls.
How BJP and Congress are looking into Nagaland issues
The assembly election in Nagaland will be held on schedule, Home Minister Rajnath Singh had said earlier, even as the state’s civil society groups have been demanding that polls be deferred to facilitate a solution to the vexed Naga insurgency issue.
Meanwhile, Congress has managed a last moment arrangement to contest on 20 seats of 60 assembly constituencies. The AICC observer for poll-bound Nagaland Gaurav Gogoi has exuded confidence that party will retain over half as people, civil society and various church groups in the state want a clean campaign. He said that Congress campaign is based on the development of roads, jobs and a long-term solution.