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Aizawl: Mizoram Kohhran Hruaitute Committee (MKHC), a conglomerate of 16 churches in the state, has appealed all churches across the state to hold mass prayers on April 5 or 6 in view of the upcoming Lok Sabha polls and assembly be-election.

The committee chairman, Rev Lalhmingthanga, told EastMojo that the church body has appealed all church members to pray for peaceful conduct of both the polls and to vote for a candidate, who will give priority to safety of Mizoram, the Mizo people and their religion.

The committee also appealed all political parties and the general public to respect the appeal, he said. He added that mass prayers will be held by church members across the state either on 5 or 6 April depending on the convenience of local churches.

Mizoram is gearing up for election to the lone Lok Sabha seat and assembly by-election to Aizawl West-I seat, which will be held simultaneously on April 11.

Meanwhile, a statement issued by the MKHC appealed to all contesting political parties to refrain from canvassing vote through money, hiring militants, intimidation and cheating to not only enable voters use their free will to cast their votes, but also ensure peaceful conduct of elections.

All political parties as well as groups are highly requested not to campaign on ethnic lines and in such a manner which could tarnish unity among various sections of society and churches, the statement said.

Among others, the committee also appealed to political parties and individual voters not to engage in mud-slinging politics and abusive remarks to avoid violence, not to buy votes or take bribe from candidates and to vote for a candidate, who is committed to protection and safety of the state, the people and their religion.

The committee also urged any elected candidate to execute his responsibilities, to work for the entire state rather than his party and to fulfill the aspirations of the people.

In Mizoram, where more than 87% of the state’s population are Christians, the MKHC and Mizoram People’s Forum (MPF), a church sponsored poll watchdog, have been playing significant role in ensuring peaceful elections in the past.

MKHC has become one of the influential church bodies as on many occasions it acted as mediator between the state government and civil society groups or student bodies in the event of differences.

More than 7.8 electorates will exercise their franchise in the upcoming polls.

The last date for filing nominations is fixed on March 25, while the last date for withdrawal of candidature is fixed on March 28. Scrutiny of nomination papers will be held on March 26 and counting of votes would be undertaken on May 23 along with other states.

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