Aizawl: Ahead of elections, posters, banners and hoardings of political parties fill the streets, walls and every possible nook and corner of a state. However, this is not the case in Mizoram, which is going to polls on November 28.
Elections in the Christian-majority state are comparatively neater, to the extent that it is almost hard to believe it is going to polls in two weeks.
The reason behind this is the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed between the Mizoram People’s Forum (MPF) and the contesting political parties, which refrains them from indulging in various pre-poll activities, including undertaking door-to-door campaigning without informing the powerful civil society body comprising the church and NGOs like the Young Mizo Association (YMA).
The agreement also restricts expenses above Rs 20, 00,000 per candidate in order to ensure fair and corruption-free elections. The self-styled election watchdog also restricts the number of banners, flags and posters depending upon a locality. As per the agreement, political parties can place five banners, 50 flags and up to 30 posters for areas with seven Village Councils (VC) and Local Council (LC) members. The figures vary according to the number of VC and LC members. The people’s forum has also made it clear that the norms will have to be adhered to by all, including star campaigners.
“Our motive is to have a free and fair election and good governance for the state of Mizoram. So the agreement came to being after a discussion with the political parties, the church and the NGOs who are working towards a better governance in Mizoram,” said Dr Rev R Lalbiakmawia, general secretary of MPF.
Lalbiakmawia also urged the people not to accept any favours and freebies from any of the political parties or candidates, while warning the parties of stern action, in case of any violation.
Taking a tough stance, Lalbiakmawia told EastMojo, “We have placed several unit and block leaders and if any of the candidate is found violating the agreement, the people in the constituency will be informed about the same. And if they neglect the agreement, it will be considered as a sign of violating the laws of the land.”
All registered political parties have signed a covenant with the MPF ahead of polls. However, this is not the first time that such an agreement has been made. The first such agreement was signed along with the inception of MPF in 2006, with the intention of conducting fair and corruption-free elections.
However, with each election these agreements have undergone a phase of improvisation.