Mizoram man embarks on hunger strike to protest poll-counting date

Aizawl: While the rest of the state were busy casting their votes, 65-year-old Lalbiakthanga from Maubawk locality in Aizawl, Mizoram, was seated in front of the infamous Vanapa hall to stage a day-long hunger strike. His fasting was a plea to the Election Commission of India (ECI) to reconsider the date of vote counting, which is scheduled for December 3, Sunday.

Various NGOs and political parties in Mizoram have been vehemently opposing the ECI schedule following the announcement of the poll dates.

Lalbiakthanga, who is well-known for his previous activism, had sent an email to the ECI requesting the change in counting date before commencing his hunger strike at 7 am. He expressed his dissatisfaction with the ECI’s decision, and said he decided not to cast his vote as a sign of protest.

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Lalbiakthanga’s prior efforts included a journey on foot from Aizawl to Churachandpur, aimed at shedding light on the ongoing conflicts in neighboring Manipur. His most recent action aligns with the stance of the Mizo Zirlai Pawl (MZP) and the Coordination Committee, who have all called for a revision of the counting date.

The ECI’s selection of December 3 for counting votes has encountered resistance from major political parties in Mizoram, which is predominantly Christian. Both the ruling Mizo National Front (MNF) and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), along with various church and student organizations, have formally written to the ECI, urging them to reschedule the counting date.

Also Read | Mizoram: 32.68% voter turnout till noon; party presidents cast votes

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