The interference in the just-held Manipur assembly election by the Nationalist Socialist Council of Nagaland-IM rebels from Nagaland has raised many questions vis-a-vis the rebel group's on-going peace process with the central government.
The NSCN-IM rebels have been accused of indulged in inducing voters in favour of candidates of Nagaland People's Front in Manipur hill districts dominated by Naga tribes.
The involvement of NSCN-IM rebels in Manipur poll process has raised question over the NSCN-IM's sincerity and commitment to the peace process with the Centre. The rebels' bid to disrupt polls in Manipur was in sharp violation of ceasefire ground rules.
The NSCN-IM's action has virtually consolidated the apprehension that the rebel group has not yet jettisoned its demand for a 'Greater Nagalim' that has been firmly opposed by Assam, Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh which share boundaries with Nagaland.
The proposed 'Greater Nagalim' covers all Naga tribe inhabited areas in northeast, including present Nagaland state.
Because of the precautionary measures taken by the home ministry through deployment of adequate forces of conducting polls in Manipur on January 28, the NSCN-IM ultras failed to create widespread disturbance during polls barring an incident in a remote polling booth in Chandel district where seven persons, including security personnel and polling officials, were killed during a gun battle with an NSCN-IM rebel who had entered the polling booth with a pistol.
The NPF fielded candidates in Manipur polls for the first time and it was supported by the United Naga Council of Manipur.
It was the UNC, which had precipitated the 70-day-long blockade of national highway 39 in 2010 after Manipur government had prevented NSCN-IM leader Thuingaleng Muivah from visiting his ancestral village in Ukhrul district in Manipur.
The UNC has also been demanding an alternative administrative mechanism for Naga-majority hill districts of Manipur that is in tune with NSCN-IM's demand for a 'Greater Nagalim'.