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Church leaders to ensure vote counting does not take place on a Sunday

Aizawl: Frustrated with the long silence of the Election Commission of India on their demand for change of the date of counting for the coming election to the 40-member Miizoram assembly, the powerful church and the civil societies may try to take steps to ensure that counting of votes does not take place on December 3.
A meeting convened by the Mizoram Kohhran Hruaitute Committee (MKHC), conglomerate of leaders of major church denominations in the state, NGO Coordination Committee (NGOCC) and Mizoram People’s Forum (MPF), church sponsored election watchdog, on Thursday night in Aizawl decided that the MKHC will submit another appeal to the state Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Madhup Vyas on Friday.
“The appeal to change the date for counting of votes, which falls on Sunday, the sacred day for a high majority of the poll-bound Christian-dominated state, will again be given to the CEO on Friday. We are expecting to hear the response of the central poll panel within 24 hours,” one of the NGOCC leaders said on Friday.
He said that another joint meeting will be held after the expiry of the 24-hour deadline which will make decision on the future course of actions. NGOCC is an umbrella organisation of all the major civil societies and student bodies – Mizo Zirlai Pawl (MZP), Mizo students’ federation and Mizo Students’ Union (MSU).
The appeal will be pleas to the election authorities to change the date of counting of votes from December 3 to December 4 or 5, he said.
“We will make final decision after lapse of the 24-hour deadline. Though we do not know what decision will be made on the future course of actions, it is most likely that counting of votes will not happen in Mizoram on December 3 (Sunday),” he added.
All the major political parties in the state, including the ruling Mizo National Front (MNF), Zoram People’s Movement (ZPM), Congress and BJP have submitted appeals to the ECI to defer the date of counting of votes. The NGOCC, obtaining signatures of all the political parties, civil societies and student organisations also had submitted the appeal to the central poll panel through the state CEO.
The MKHC and other individual church denominations also submitted letters opposing the date of counting and appealing its deferment and to appoint another date which does not fall on Saturday or Sunday.
Anger has mounted due to the long silence of the ECI which has accepted requests from Rajasthan not to hold polls on Dev Uthani Ekadashi, an auspicious day for Hindus when a large number of weddings are scheduled.
The poll panel on November 11 announced that it had deferred polling in Rajasthan from November 23 to November 25.  
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