On the last day to file nominations for the upcoming Assembly elections in Nagaland, 253 candidates filed their papers on Wednesday, the Nagaland Post reported. Nagaland’s Assembly polls will be held on February 27.

A majority of the candidates had not filed their nominations until Tuesday. All local political parties in the state said they will boycott the polls as a show of support to tribal bodies and groups, who have been demanding that elections be held only after the Naga peace talks with the government.

On Tuesday, Kuzholuzo Azo Nienu from the ruling Naga People’s Front became the first to file his nomination papers. Nagaland Chief Minister TR Zeliang (pictured above) was among those who filed their papers on the last day, PTI reported.

“Just finished filing my nomination for the 27th February Nagaland Assembly election from 7th Peren Assembly constituency,” Zeliang said on Twitter.

Reports differed about the actual number of nominations filed on Wednesday. The Chief Electoral Officer Abhijit Sinha said authorities were taking time to compile a final, party-wise list owing to the last-minute rush.

The papers will be scrutinised on Thursday while the last date to withdraw nominations is February 12.

Candidates from all major political parties, including the Naga People’s Front, Nationalist Democratic Progressive Party, the Congress, Bharatiya Janata Party, and the Nationalist Congress Party, and independents filed their nominations for the 60 Assembly constituencies across 12 districts, Mint reported.

The Naga peace talks

For decades, Naga rebel groups have been fighting for Nagalim or Greater Nagaland. The Centre has been in talks with National Socialist Council of Nagaland (Isak-Muivah) – the largest Naga rebel group – since 1997 when the group signed a ceasefire pact.

In 2015, these talks got a boost after Prime Minister Narendra Modi signed a “framework agreement” with the rebel group. While details of the deal are yet to be made public, it is believed that it acknowledges the “uniqueness of Naga history and culture” in exchange for the NSCN(IM)’s respect for the “primacy of the Indian Constitution”.

In December 2017, the Nagaland Assembly had asked the Centre to find a solution to end the crisis before the elections. Earlier in January, various organisations in the state had urged Modi to defer the polls.