For the beleaguered United Naga Council (UNC), the by-poll to the Autonomous District Council (ADC) would serve as a litmus test with the Okram Ibobi Singh government all set for the electoral battle in the two Naga hill districts.
“The Naga public will decide whether they are for Okram Ibobi Singh government or the UNC. Let us see who will win,” said UNC the umbrella of Naga organizations in Manipur such as-Naga Public Organisation, Poumai Naga Union, and Tangkhul frontal bodies including TNL, TSL, TMNL, and TKS.
During the past few days, UNC toured the poll-bound Naga areas holding interaction with the electorates of Phaibung Khullen in Senapati and Chingai in Ukhrul slated to go to the polls on October 24.
UNC-led Naga organizations recently held camps at Chingai “to sensitize the public on Nagas’ decision” – a day after it organized a consultation with the electorates in Phaibung Khullen constituencies. UNC admitted there was rift among public of Chingai and Phaibung constituencies on the issue of ADC elections.
In both the UNC-initiated political meetings, the representatives of the touring Naga organisations engaged in open discussion and sought opinions of the public from the two constituencies. After a daylong consultation with the public in both the meetings, UNC maintained its opposition against polls and asked people not to vote in the ensuing ADC elections.
UNC reiterated its declaration that “the Manipur (Hills) Autonomous District Council Act, (2008) as null and void.” UNC expressed confidence that the Naga public would not participate in the ADC polls based on verbal assurances.
Meanwhile, the election campaigns were already in full in the two constituencies. “The campaign is almost over in Chingai constituency and the response has been quite positive from the voters,” said a close aide to INC candidate Wilson Shatsang.
Two Congress and independent candidates each are in fray for the Phaibung Khullen and Chingai seat. In last year’s ADC poll, only 10 seats including eight in Senapati and two in Ukhrul were countermanded despite the strong boycott call by the Naga organisations. Eight candidates have already been declared elected unopposed on October 3.