New Delhi: The State Election Commission of Nagaland on Thursday announced that it will hold polls to 39 Urban Local Bodies (ULB) after almost two decades on May 16 with 33 per cent reservation of seats for women, one of the contentious issues blamed for the situation.
The newly formed Nagaland Cabinet, headed by Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio during its first meeting on Tuesday, had deliberated on the conduct of the ULB elections by May this year with 33% women reservation as directed by the Supreme Court.
State Election Commissioner (SEC) T Mhabemo Yanthan said the filing of nominations will start on April 3 and end on April 10, as per PTI. On April 12 and 13, scrutiny of nomination papers will be done, the last date for withdrawal of candidature is April 24. Votes will be counted on April 24.
The first urban local body elections in Nagaland were held in 2004. After the Nagaland Municipal Act was amended in 2006, to include 33 percent reservation for women in line with the 1992 constitutional amendment, massive opposition was witnessed in the state. Led by tribal groups, the protesters’ contention was that the “reservation was in contravention with Naga customary laws” as enshrined in Constitution.
However, on March 9, 2022, representatives from across the Naga society unanimously agreed that elections to ULBs should be held with 33 per cent reservation for women.
The 33 per cent reservation for women in civic bodies has been a heated issue in the state, which recently created history by electing two women to the legislative assembly, a first since the state was formed in 1963.
Salhoutuonuo Kruse and Hekhani Jakhalu of the ruling Nationalist Democratic Progressive Party (NDPP) were elected on February 27.
With the announcement of the election programme, the SEC also said that the model code of conduct has also come into force with immediate effect in the municipal and town council area which is going to polls soon.
Meanwhile, on Tuesday, Neiphiu Rio took the oath as the Chief Minister for a record fifth term. Along with the 72-year-old Rio, former Chief Minister and NDPP MLA Taditui Rangkau Zeliang and BJP leader Yanthungo Patton took oath as Deputy Chief Ministers, while nine other legislators assumed office as cabinet ministers.