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Stage set for Mizoram elections

 

Aizawl: Election machineries are fully prepared to conduct polling for election to the 40-member Mizoram legislature to be held from 7 AM on Tuesday, state Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Madhup Vyas said on Monday.

Vyas said that all the 1,276 polling parties have reached have reached their respective polling stations on the eve of the polling on Monday evening. “While 149 polling parties have reached their duty polling stations which are classified as P-2 (minus 2 polling stations) situated at far-flung areas on Sunday, polling parties to be on duty at 1,127 polling stations reached their respective polling stations on Monday,” he said.

He said that Mizoram’s 404-km long international border with Myanmar and 318-long international border with Bangladesh, as well as Assam, Manipur and Tripura interstate border with the state are sealed from 4 pm on Sunday which will continue till 4 pm on Tuesday.

At least 12,106 voters including people over 80 years of age and people with disabilities (PwDs) who casted their votes in their own homes as well as polling personnel and people to be engaged in essential services on polling day have exercised franchise through postal ballots till Monday.

The CEO said that webcasting will be in place in 60 per cent of the polling stations including those classified as vulnerable and critical polling stations, mainly situated along the border areas. The state election department classified 29 polling stations and one polling station as vulnerable and critical polling stations respectively in southern Mizoram’s Lunglei and Lawngtlai districts bordering Myanmar and Bangladesh, as well as interstate border with Assam, Tripura and Manipur.

He said that elaborate security arrangements are in place to ensure free, fair and peaceful elections with 3,000 odd state police personnel and 450 sections of central armed police forces (CAPF) being deployed across the state.

Election Commission of India is yet to make response to the appeals made by all the political parties, civil societies and churches to change the date of counting of votes, December 3, which falls on Sunday.

The electorates will seal the fates of 140 candidates on Tuesday. Though the number of candidates is 170, four candidates are contesting from 2 assembly seats each making to total number of candidates in the fray to 174.

The ruling Mizo National Front (MNF), the Zoram People’s Movement (ZPM) and the Congress are contesting all the assembly seats while the BJP is contesting in 23 seats and the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) fields candidates in 4 seats. There are 27 independent nominees. 

The MNF, ZPM and the Congress party field two women candidates each while the BJP fields three women candidates after withdrawing one woman candidate under the pressure of the Mizo Zirlai Pawl (MZP) or Mizo students federation, for being a spouse of non-tribal. The Congress party, however, refused to buckle under the MZP diktat with Meriam L. Hrangchal continuing to be in the fray. 

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