Aizawl: In a critical meeting held on Saturday, the NGO Coordination Committee which comprises a conglomerate of five leading civil society organisations and student bodies addressed growing concerns over the Election Commission of India‘s (ECI) decision to conduct vote counting on December 3, a Sunday, despite repeated appeals from NGOs and political parties.
The meeting focused on the implications of this decision, particularly in the state of Mizoram, where the entire population is Christian and observes Sunday as a holy day.
During the ECI’s visit to Mizoram in August, political parties had urged the Commission to avoid scheduling significant events on both Saturday (observed as a holy day by the Seventh Day Adventists) and Sunday (attended by the majority, including Presbyterians and Baptists). However, after discussions in Delhi, the Mizoram Chief Electoral Officer Madhup Vyas announced that the counting would proceed according to the initial schedule.
Madhup Vyas, representing the Election Commission, emphasised that unlike polling, counting involves designated staff working directly under the Commission, and common people are free to participate in their usual Sunday activities. Vyas highlighted the logistical necessity of adhering to the predetermined counting date for all five states – Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Mizoram, Rajasthan, and Telangana. He stressed the importance of maintaining the stipulated date for an organised and efficient counting process.
Despite Vyas’s explanations, the NGO Coordination Committee, comprising various organizations from Mizoram, expressed dissatisfaction with the ECI’s decision. In response, the committee has decided to escalate its efforts to address this issue.
The committee plans to meet with the Election Commission of India at its headquarters to present the concerns raised by the Mizoram population and request a reconsideration of the vote counting date. This meeting aims to engage in constructive dialogue and find a solution that respects the religious and cultural sentiments of the people. However, should these efforts prove futile, the committee has resolved to organise a Protest Day.
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The state of Mizoram went to polls on November 7. In the 2018 Mizoram Assembly Elections, the MNF emerged victorious with a vote share of 37.8 per cent, defeating the decade-long Congress government.
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