Aizawl: Voting for the bypoll to Tuirial assembly seat in Mizoram’s Kolasib district near Assam border is underway to decide the fate of four candidates, an election official said on Saturday.

District election officer Dr. H. Lalthlangliana said that polling began peacefully in all 27 polling stations at 7 am. Voting will be end at 6 pm, he said.

However, those voters, who entered the premises of polling centres before 6 pm will be allowed to cast their votes after the deadline as per normal procedure, he said.No untoward incident has been reported till now, he said.

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The official said that they have not received any information about the Bru voters coming to exercise their franchise from Tripura. No special polling booths have been set up for the Bru voters, who are living at six relief camps in Tripura, but still enrolled in the state voter list.

Meanwhile, Mizoram Bru Indigenous Democratic Movement (MBIDM), an organisation representing the Bru tribals in Tripura, urged Mizoram NGOs and political parties not to create any trouble for the Bru voters in case any voter come to cast their votes in their respective polling stations at their own expense. 

The bypoll to Tuirial seat was necessitated following the death of incumbent MLA Andrew H. Thangliana of Zoram People’s Movement (ZPM) in August. 

Four candidates – K. Laldawngliana of the ruling Mizo National Front (MNF), Laltlanmawia (ZPM), Chalrosanga Ralte (Congress) and K. Laldinthara (BJP) are in the fray for the bypoll. There are  17,911 electorates, including 9,092 female voters, in Tuirial constituency.

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Of the 17,911 electorates, 663 are Bru voters, who are living in six relief camps in North Tripura district and whose re-settlement in the neighbouring state is under process. Counting will be held on November 2.

Tuirial constituency is one of the strongholds of Congress and the party has won the seat for two consecutive terms from 2008 to 2018.

The bypoll to Tuirial seat was necessitated following the death of incumbent MLA Andrew H. Thangliana of the ZPM in August

In the last assembly polls in 2018,  Congress lost the seat to ZPM candidate Andrew H. Thangliana, who defeated his nearest opponent Sailothanga Sailo of MNF by a margin of 204 votes. 

However, Thangliana had contested the election on an independent ticket as the ZPM had not obtained party registration at that time. 

There were 16,874 voters in Tuirial constituency in the last assembly polls and 83.78 per cent of them had exercised their franchise.

In the present 40-member assembly, the ruling MNF has 27 members, Congress -5, ZPM and BJP have 1 member each and there are 5 independent MLAs, who give allegiance to ZPM. 

Though originally belonged to ZPM, the 5 MLAs had contested and won the last assembly polls on independent tickets as the ZPM had not obtained registration at that time. 

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