Aizawl: A church-backed election watchdog in Mizoram on Monday sought action against political parties over the alleged violation of the model code of conduct (MCC) during the election campaign in connection with the forthcoming by-poll to Tuirial assembly seat.
Mizoram People’s Forum (MPF), an independent body formed to oversee and monitor free and fair elections in the state, filed a complaint with Kolasib district election officer and deputy commissioner.
The MPF has sought the intervention of the election department to look into the alleged violation of the model code by political parties and take necessary action against those involved.
The Forum said there were many visuals and documents “showing the corrupt practices of some political parties”, which were a manifestation of contravention of clause I (4) of the MCC, it said.
“I have enclosed some video clips and documents showing the corrupt practices of some political parties to prove the violation of Clause No. I(4) ‘corrupt practices’ of Model Code of Conduct,” the petition signed by Mizoram People’s Forum general secretary Rev. R. Lalnuntluanga said.
Meanwhile, a forum leader told the media that some political parties were distributing money and rations to canvass voters, and also bribed voters by helping them through social services.
He further alleged that some parties were also organising community feasts, which is strictly prohibited during campaign as per the MoU or guidelines between the MPF and political parties.
At least 4 candidates from the ruling Mizo National Front (MNF), Zoram People’s Movement (ZPM), Congress and the BJP are in the fray for the Tuirial by-poll necessitated by the demise of its incumbent legislator Andrew H. Thangliana of ZPM.
Counting of votes will be held on November 2.
According to election officials, a total of 17,911 electorates, including 9,092 female voters, will exercise their franchise in the coming bypoll.
The Mizoram People’s Forum was formed in 2006 by various major churches, including Mizoram Presbyterian Church, the largest denomination in the hilly state, to monitor free and fair elections.
The forum also works with major civil society organisations like Young Mizo Association (YMA), Mizo Hmeichhe Insuihkhawm Pawl (MHIP) or Mizo Women’s Federation and Mizoram Upa Pawl (MUP) or Mizoram Elders’ Association.
It functions as a poll watchdog in the state and issues guidelines to be followed by political parties in line with the ECI’s model code of conduct. However, it has no arbitrary powers.
Sometime, it also monitors selection of candidates, expenses incurred by political parties, and even micro-managing poll manifestos.
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