Voting Begins for Mizoram: High count of Voters Expected

Mizoram Assembly Elections 2023: A Close Battle Between Parties

The Mizoram Assembly elections are in full swing, with regional parties like MNF and ZPM, as well as national players like Congress and BJP, competing fiercely. Voting to choose all 40 members of the 9th Mizoram Assembly began across the state at 7 am on Tuesday, marking the first phase of polling in a series of five state assembly elections. The results will be revealed on December 3. Mizoram has seen eight assembly elections since gaining statehood in February 1987, witnessing power shifts between Congress and the current ruling party, Mizo National Front.

For election duties, around 6,000 poll personnel, 3,000 state police officers, and 50 central armed police forces (CAPF) companies are deployed. Mizoram’s Chief Electoral Officer, Madhup Vyas, mentioned that there are 1,276 EVMs and VVPATs available, with a 20% backup.

Notably, approximately 10,000 voters have already cast their votes ahead of schedule. This includes people over 80, those with disabilities, and service voters or poll personnel who have used postal ballots.

Voters have been queuing up early in the morning at polling stations in the capital city of Aizawl. Mizoram typically sees high voter turnout and peaceful elections, with a voting percentage of 81.31% recorded in the 2018 elections, slightly higher than the 80.82% from five years earlier. Voting for this election will continue until 4 pm.

Mizoram has a total of 857,063 voters, including 413,062 males, 439,026 females, and 4,975 service voters. There are 1,276 polling stations and 174 candidates in the running. While the MNF, Congress, and ZPM have candidates in all 40 seats, the BJP is competing in 23 of them.

It’s worth mentioning that the current Mizoram Assembly has no female legislators, with only four women MLAs elected in the state’s history. This time, there are 16 female candidates in the fray, with three from the BJP, two each from Congress, MNF, and ZPM, and the rest running as Independents. One of the notable female candidates is Vanlalawmpuii Chawngtu, a Congress candidate from Aizawl South-II, who has won in the past.

Aizawl district has the highest number of voters at 286,816, while Hnahthial has the lowest with 16,261 voters. Among the 40 constituencies, Tuichawng in Lawngtlai district has the most voters (36,041), while Thorang in Lunglei district has the least (14,924).

Of the 1,276 polling stations, Zemabawk VIII has the most voters (1,481), while Thehlep, with 26 voters, has the fewest.

To ensure fair and transparent elections, webcasting has been set up in 60% of the state’s polling stations, totaling 765 stations.

This election is expected to be a close contest between regional parties, the ruling Mizo National Front and the opposition Zoram Peoples Movement, with national parties Congress and BJP also seeking voters’ support.

In 2018, MNF returned to power in Mizoram after a decade, defeating Congress, which had been in power in the northeast. MNF secured 26 of the 40 seats and a majority with a 37.70% vote share. Congress came in third with just five seats and 30% of the total votes, after being in power since 2008. In 2008, Congress won 32 seats, defeating MNF, which had been in power since 1998. Five years later, Congress won 34 seats, while MNF managed to win just five.

In 2018, Zoram Peoples Movement (ZPM), formed a year earlier through the merger of seven parties, replaced Congress as the second-largest party with eight seats.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) secured only one seat in the Christian-majority state five years ago, marking its first victory in Mizoram. In the 2018 elections, ZPM received around 23% of the votes, while the BJP garnered 8%.

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