Mizoram Voting Begins, 3-Time Chief Minister Eyes Another Term: 10 Points

Voting began in all 1,276 polling stations across Mizoram at 7 am

New Delhi:
Voting has begun in Mizoram to decide whether three-time Chief Minister Zoramthanga will see a fourth term, or a new party will take over in the state. At least 174 candidates are fighting the Mizoram assembly election.

Here’s your 10-point cheatsheet to this big story

  1. Under Zoramthanga, Mizoram has taken in over 40,000 refugees who fled from the junta rule in Myanmar, citing kinship and familial ties with the Chin people in the neighbouring country.

  2. He expects to win support of the Mizos with this humanitarian gesture in an election year. Even then, his rivals in the regional political party Zoram People’s Movement (ZPM) have said Zoramthanga’s policy of helping Myanmar refugees is only optics for his political survival.

  3. But Zoramthanga also faces dormant concerns among Mizos who worry about pressure on land and resources in the long term due to the MNF’s policy on refugees. India is not a signatory to the Refugee Convention, 1951, and its 1967 protocol, yet Mizoram has been openly welcoming thousands and thousands of Myanmar refugees.

  4. The new party Zoram People’s Movement (ZPM) hopes to unseat Zoramthanga. ZPM chief Lalduhoma told Newsbust India last week that people were tired of the Chief Minister and his party the Mizo National Front (MNF). “Mizoram has been under the MNF for a long time. And people really want change in the way they are governed. They want to end corruption,” Lalduhoma told Newsbust India.

  5. Voting will begin in all 1,276 polling stations across Mizoram at 7 am and continue till 4 pm, Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Madhup Vyas said. The votes will be counted on December 3.

  6. Of these, 149 are remote polling stations, while 30 voting centres along the interstate and international borders have been declared critical and vulnerable. “Mizoram has a tradition of conducting the most peaceful elections in the country. We hope to maintain that,” Mr Vyas told news agency PTI.

  7. He said the 510-km-long international border with Myanmar and 318-km boundary with Bangladesh have been sealed ahead of polling for the 40-member Mizoram assembly.

  8. The Assam Rifles is managing the Myanmar border, while the Border Security Force (BSF) is in charge of the international border with Bangladesh. The interstate boundaries with three districts of Assam, two with Manipur and one with Tripura have also been closed.

  9. Most polling personnel carrying electronic voting machines (EVMs) have already reached their booths, Mr Vyas said. “We have adequate spare EVMs and enough engineers to take care of technical glitches. The law and order situation is also being constantly monitored,” he said.

  10. Zoramthanga’s MNF, main opposition party ZPM and the Congress have fielded 40 candidates each. The BJP and the debutant Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) are contesting in 23 and four seats, respectively; 27 candidates are contesting as independents.

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