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Nagaland minister Imkong L Imchen today said the central government should go for a solution to the decades-old Naga political problem first and then conduct the Assembly election.
The minister's statement came a day after the Naga Hoho, an apex Naga tribal body, sought Prime Minister Narendra Modi's help in postponing the Assembly polls, saying that the vexed insurgency problem should be resolved first.
"We are not setting any deadline to the Government of India, but our position is - let the Centre settle the political issue first and then conduct the elections," Imchen told reporters here.
The expectations for a lasting peace have gone up in Nagaland after President Ram Nath Kovind on December 1 said that the state was at the threshold of making history as the final agreement on the Naga political problem would soon be arrived at and a lasting peace achieved.
The Centre and the National Socialist Council of Nagaland (Isak-Muivah) (NSCN-IM) had signed a framework agreement in 2015 following peace talks that started in 1997. Insurgency had begun in Nagaland soon after the country's independence.
Stating that the peace process is at an advance stage now, the minister said, "To me, to defer one election on the part of Government of India is not a great favour the Naga people are asking for."
Though this demand has been raised for quite some time, Chief Election Commissioner A K Joti had said here in November that the term of the Nagaland Assembly is due to expire in March, 2018 and elections will be held before that.
"We are only expressing our support to the negotiating parties to solve the Naga issue. Till today, no individual nor any organisation has disagreed with this proposal (of deferring election)," Imchen said.
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