The around two-month-long poll campaign for November 7 Mizoram Assembly elections came to an end on Sunday afternoon amid the Election Commission’s efforts to hold the polls in a free, fair and transparent manner.
Though officially the campaigning ended on Sunday, Saturday was the last day for canvassing as most people went to church for Sunday prayers. According to the 2011 Census, around 87 per cent of Mizoram population are Christian.
Election Officials said that the Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF) and state police personnel have taken up positions in all the constituencies while several thousand polling personnel have either reached or were on the way to their designated 1,276 polling stations in 40 Assembly constituencies.
Mizoram’s 8, 57,063 voters, including 4,39,026 female electors, would decide the electoral fate of 174 candidates, including 18 women.
The ruling Mizo National Front (MNF), the main opposition Zoram People’s Movement (ZPM) and the Congress have fielded candidates in 40 seats each while the Aam Aadmi Party is contesting four seats and 27 independent candidates are also in the fray.
The BJP has fielded candidates in 23 seats with a special focus on linguistic minority inhabited areas, especially where the Reang and Chakma tribal community people are in reasonable numbers in the voters’ list.
State Presidents of most political parties – Chief Minister Zoramthanga (MNF), Lalsawta (Congress), Lalduhoma (ZPM), and Vanlalhmuaka (BJP) are contesting this election.
Zoramthanga is re-contesting from the Aizawl East-1 seat, Vanlalhmuaka from Dampa seat, Congress’ Lalsawta is in fray from Aizawl West-III constituency and Lalduhoma is seeking re-election from the Serchhip seat.
Of Mizoram’s 11 districts, highest number of candidates (55) are fighting in 12 seats of Aizawl district while the lowest number of three candidates are in the the lone seat of Hnahthial district.
BJP President J.P. Nadda, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, Central Ministers Nitin Gadkari, Kiren Rijiju, Smriti Irani, many central leaders and MPs campaigned for the party candidates. Congress leaders Rahul Gandhi, Jairam Ramesh, Shashi Tharoor, Bhakta Charan Das among other leaders also took part in the campaign.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Congress General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra cancelled their scheduled campaign trips to the northeastern state while Congress Parliamentary Party Chairperson Sonia Gandhi gave a special video message to the people of Mizoram.
Since the announcement of the election schedule of Mizoram and four other states — Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan, and Telangana — on October 9, all political parties, Church bodies, NGOs, including Young Mizo Associations and civil society organisations have been demanding to reschedule the counting date.
Dozens of letters and memorandum were sent to the Election Commission to reschedule the vote counting date of December 3 saying that Sundays are sacred for Christians and worship services are held in all towns and villages on that day. The EC, however, is yet to respond to these series of appeals.