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MIZORAM

High-voltage campaign for Lok Sabha election ends in Mizoram

Any form of electioneering, public meetings, publication of advertisements, press conferences, interviews and panel discussions in electronic or print media strictly prohibited now

Henry L Khojol

Aizawl: The high-voltage campaign for election to the lone Lok Sabha seat and assembly by-poll to Aizawl West-I seat came to an end on Tuesday evening with political parties organising closing functions and two-wheeler rallies.

Mizoram chief electoral officer (CEO) Ashish Kundra said that the election campaign has ended at 5 pm and any form of electioneering, public meetings, publication of advertisements, press conferences by political parties, interviews and panel discussions in electronic or print media has been strictly prohibited after the deadline.

Mizoram will go to the polls, along with 18 states and 2 Union Territories, on April 11 and results will be declared on May 23 along with the rest of the country.

The state has a total of 7,87,777 electorates, including 4,04,169 females voters and six transgender voters. There are 3,331 Person with Disability voters and 4,687 service voters.

The electorate would cast their votes at 1,175 polling stations across the state where EVMs would be used. Besides, the Election Commission has set up 15 special polling stations at Kanhmun village on Mizoram-Tripura border, where 12,081 Bru voters from six relief camps in Tripura would cast their votes.

The Lok Sabha elections will be a six-cornered contest, while the Aizawl West-I assembly by-poll will witness a triangular contest from the ruling Mizo National Front (MNF), Zoram People’s Movement (ZPM)-Congress combine and Zoramthar group.

For the Lok Sabha polls, the ruling MNF has fielded former director general of Doordarshan C Lalrosanga and ZPM-Congress combine projected a sports journalist Lalnghinglova Hmar, who is contesting as an independent.

The BJP, which is contesting the Lok Sabha polls for the first time in Mizoram, has fielded its state vice-president and veteran Chakma politician Nirupam Chakma, while People's Representation for Identity and Status of Mizoram (Prism) nominated former navy TBC Lalvenchhunga, who is the youngest of all.

Two independent candidates -- Lalhriatrenga Chhangte, who filed a criminal case against former chief minister and state PCC president Lal Thanhawla last year, and a Mizo Jewish woman leader Lalthlamuani -- are also contesting the polls.

They key contest is likely to be between the MNF and ZPM-Congress combine. This time, the citizenship bill holds the key poll issue here. While MNF, ZPM-Congress combine and Prism vowed to fight against the Bill, if re-introduced, two independent candidates were silent over the issue.

While the ruling MNF was hopeful of wining the poll by taking advantage of being a ruling party in the state, the ZPM-Congress combine was confident of victory because of its “people candidate” tag.

Ever since Mizoram had its first Lok Sabha seat after becoming a Union Territory in 1972, the opposition has won only twice.

Of the total 4,28,018 votes cast in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, the Congress had a vote share of 49.17% against the 47.73% won by United Democratic Front (UDF) formed by MNF and other opposition parties.

CL Ruala of Congress is the sitting MP from the state.

Candidates in the fray for Assembly by-poll are Zothantluanga of the MNF, independent nominee Lalbuanga Sailo, supported by ZPM- Congress combine and Rev Zaichhawna Hlawndo of 'Zoramthar', who is contesting as independent.

The assembly by-poll to Aizawl West-I seat was necessitated by ZPM leader Lalduhoma, who vacated it to retain his Serchhip seat. He defeated his nearest opponent K Sangthuama of MNF by a margin of 1,060 votes in the state assembly polls last in November last year.