Aizawl: Mizoram opposition Congress on Monday accused the ruling Mizo National Front (MNF) of intimidating government employees to cast their votes in favour of the party candidate in the upcoming by-poll to Tuirial assembly seat scheduled to be held on October 30.

The MNF, however, denied the allegation and said it was “baseless.”

Speaking to reporters at a press conference in Aizawl, Congress media department chairman Dr. Lallianchhunga alleged that many of the government employees in Tuirial assembly constituency have been evidently intimidated by the ruling party to vote for its candidate, citing it was “undemocratic”.

“The Congress can’t ignore the matter as it is truly undemocratic and an outright violation of the country’s Constitution. We will look into the matter and probe it aggressively,” the Congress leader said.

Lallianchhunga further accused Chief Minister and MNF president Zoramthanga of intimidating people to vote for the party.

He alleged that Zoramthanga had, in early October, warned people of Tuirial assembly constituency that they will regret it unless they elect the MNF candidate.

Extending solidarity to the voters, the Congress spokesperson said they should be given free will to elect a candidate of their choice.

“The people should be given a free hand to vote for any candidate of their choice. They should be allowed to exercise their franchise freely. We appeal to the people of Tuirial to reject such a party which disdainfully intimidates them to vote for it,” he said.

Citing that the MNF has hardly fulfilled its pre-poll promises, Lallianchhunga urged the people not to fall for such fake promises.

He alleged the MNF had promised to give monetary assistance to the tune of Rs 3 lakh to eligible family under its flagship programme Socio-Economic Development Policy (SEDP) before the last assembly poll in 2018 and the party also made many promises in the recent local urban and rural body polls but none of them were fulfilled.

Meanwhile, MNF vice president Vanlalzawma denied that his party was intimidating government employees into voting them.

He said that the allegation was baseless as it is very indecent for a responsible party to threaten either government employees or common men to vote for it.

“We are truly unaware of such intimidation. If such thing happened by chance, it may be the scornful act of others to malign and tarnish the reputation of MNF,” the former Lok Sabha member and ex-MLA said.

As regards the allegation against CM Zoramthanga, Vanlalzawma said the chief minister was not meant to intimidate the people when he urged them to vote for the ruling party candidate.

“Although I can’t recall the chief minister’s remarks, urging the people to vote for the ruling party in the by-election or reminding them that it is beneficial to have a ruling MLA is a normal political speech use by politicians and the Congress leaders are no exception,” he said, adding that such were common even under Congress regime.

During a campaign kickoff on October 2,  Zoramthang had said that the people of Tuirial will regret if they vote for opposition candidate and urged them to cast their votes in favour of MNF candidate.

Campaign for the by-poll to Tuirial seat is gaining moment with contesting parties engaging on blame game. It is one of the high voltage campaigns for by-polls in the political history of Mizoram, according to political analysts.

Campaigning will end on October 27 at 6 pm.

Four candidates are in the fray for the upcoming by-poll to be held on October 3.

Ruling MNF candidate K. Laldawngliana is tipped against oppositions Zoram People’s Movement (ZPM) and Congress nominees Laltlanmawia and Chalrosanga Ralte, respectively.

The BJP has fielded its party spokesperson K. Laldinthara.

The coming by-poll is expected to witness a triangular fight between the MNF, ZPM and Congress.

A total of 17,911 electorates, including 9,092 female voters, will exercise their franchise in the by-poll, necessitated by the demise of incumbent MLA Andrew H. Thangliana of ZPM in August. 

Counting of votes will be held on November 2. 

Also read: Assam: Chandra Mudoi’s ‘Ronuwa’ brings home National Award

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