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Mizoram Assembly elections updates: 56% voter turnout recorded at Tuikum till 2.30 pm, 51% at South tuipui, 59% at Thorang

Mizoram Assembly elections updates: 56 percent voter turnout was recorded at Tuikum as of 2.30 on Wednesday afternoon, a spokesperson from the Election Commission said. Hrangturzo recorded 55 percent, South Tuipui 51 percent, and Thorang 59 percent, the official said.

FP Staff November 28, 2018 15:15:17 IST
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Mizoram Assembly elections updates: 56% voter turnout recorded at Tuikum till 2.30 pm, 51% at South tuipui, 59% at Thorang

Highlights

14:44 (ist)

RECAP: Zoramthanga speaks about his electoral prospects

In an interview with Firstpost, former Mizoram chief minister and Mizo National Front (MNF) leader Zoramthanga talked about his electoral prospects as well as about issues in the state such as anti-incumbency and liquor sales.

"Because of the lack of development and the lifting of prohibition and allowing the sale of liquor as well as the mismanagement of the financial position, people are really fed up of the present government," he said.

He added that there is "big anti-incumbency" in the state, which is why he is confident about winning the elections. "Many people say the Congress will not even get 10 seats. All political pointers are also indicating as such," he said.

12:06 (ist)

RECAP: SB Shashank ousted as CEO, replaced by Ashish Kundra

The Election Commission on 15 November appointed IAS officer Ashish Kundra as poll-bound Mizoram's new chief electoral officer, replacing SB Shashank.

The NGO Coordination Committee had sought Shashank's exit from the state shortly after the Election Commission (EC) removed the state's principal secretary (Home) Lalnunmawia Chuaungo. They alleged that Shashank hurt the sentiments of the Mizo people by his "pro-Bru" stance for conducting the elections.

08:13 (ist)

Only 15 women candidates contesting out of total 209

Of the 209 candidates in the fray for the Mizoram Vidhan Sabha elections, only 15 are women, according to officials from the state election department. While that figure is more than double of the 2013 state polls, when only six women candidates ran for office — unfortunately none were successful — the number of women competing for seats amounts to merely seven percent of the total candidates.

LIVE NEWS and UPDATES

Nov 28, 2018 - 15:45 (IST)

67% voter turnout recorded at 3 pm in Mizoram 


Serchhip recorded 74 percent, Champhai recorded 72 percent, Mamit recorded 70 percent, Aizawl recorded 62 percent, and Lawngtlai recorded 66 percent.

Input by Syeda Ambia Zahan

Nov 28, 2018 - 15:10 (IST)

Break down of voter turnout at 2.30 pm

Nov 28, 2018 - 15:04 (IST)

See:  Pink polling booth at Aizawl South-II

A Pink polling station at Aizawl South-II can be seen, where only women officials are on duty. Each constituency has one polling booth exclusively for women voters, manned by women polling and security personnel. These booths have been named after a flower called 'Dingdi'.

Input by Maria Lalremengi

Nov 28, 2018 - 14:51 (IST)

RECAP: Congress claims 'BJP can cause damage to the soul, spirit and body of the Christians'

The ruling Congress in Mizoram on 31 October had urged people of the Christian-dominated state to support the party in the assembly election, alleging that the entry of BJP might hurt their religious freedom.

"The Congress should win with a comfortable margin as a fractured mandate would pave way for the BJP to go for a post-poll alliance with the MNF," state Congress spokesperson Lallianchhunga said.

"The BJP can cause damage to the soul, spirit and body of the Christians in Mizoram," Lallianchhunga, also the party's media cell chairperson, said in a statement.

Countering the charge, the BJP said it was a propaganda of the Congress to tarnish the image of the party.

Nov 28, 2018 - 14:44 (IST)

RECAP: Zoramthanga speaks about his electoral prospects

In an interview with Firstpost, former Mizoram chief minister and Mizo National Front (MNF) leader Zoramthanga talked about his electoral prospects as well as about issues in the state such as anti-incumbency and liquor sales.

"Because of the lack of development and the lifting of prohibition and allowing the sale of liquor as well as the mismanagement of the financial position, people are really fed up of the present government," he said.

He added that there is "big anti-incumbency" in the state, which is why he is confident about winning the elections. "Many people say the Congress will not even get 10 seats. All political pointers are also indicating as such," he said.

Nov 28, 2018 - 14:30 (IST)

How much do you know about the Mizoram Assembly polls? 

Take our quiz and find out!

Nov 28, 2018 - 14:23 (IST)

Senior citizens come out to cast votes

Polling officials can be seen helping a stroke patient at a polling station in Pukpui.

Nov 28, 2018 - 14:11 (IST)

106-year-old woman casts vote in Mizoram's Kawrthah

Nov 28, 2018 - 14:04 (IST)

42 VVPATs, 25 ballot units replaced in Mizoram

Forty-two VVPATs, 25 ballot units and 19 control units were replaced, following malfunctions at various polling stations across Mizoram, Chief Electoral Officer Ashish Kundra said. 

Nov 28, 2018 - 13:59 (IST)

Breakdown of voter turnout until 12 noon


Mizoram Assembly elections updates: 56 percent voter turnout was recorded at Tuikum as of 2.30 on Wednesday afternoon, a spokesperson from the Election Commission said. Hrangturzo recorded 55 percent, South Tuipui 51 percent,  and Thorang 59 percent, the official said.

Forty-two VVPATs, 25 ballot units and 19 control units were replaced, following malfunctions at various polling stations across Mizoram, Chief Electoral Officer Ashish Kundra said.

Voter turn out was recorded at 45 percent in Aizawl district and at around 55 percent in Serchhip, chief electoral officer Ashish Kundra said.

He said that the overall voter turnout in Mizoram was recorded at 50% till 1.30 pm.

Former chief minister of Mizoram Zoramthanga, who was in power from 1998 to 2008, said that he was confident that his party MNF would win this time in a landslide victory. Meanwhile, Chief Minister Lal Thanhawla cast his vote at Zarkawt at around 12:15 pm. He is hopeful to win simple majority by bagging more than 27 seats. Thanhawla said the Congress would not forge post poll alliance with the BJP.

Inspite of contesting in 39 seats, BJP will not win more than five seats in Mizoram this time, vice-president of BJP's Mahila Morcha in Mizoram Vijay Lakshmi Rai said. "BJP's campaign was better this year but due to this 'Hinduva' tag on the party, we are going to lose in many seats. BJP has never won a seat here, so winning even 2-3 seats is good for us. I hope my party forms government with the help of other like-minded parties after the result," Rai said.

The overall voter turnout for the 40-member Mizoram  Assembly polls was recorded at 29 percent until 11 am. Until 10.30 am on Wednesday, 664 Bru voters cast their votes at Kanhmun in Mizoram's Mamit district.

Brisk polling is underway in Mizoram with nearly 25 percent of 7.68 lakh voters casting their votes in the first three hours on Wednesday, an official said. Men and women dressd in traditional attires were seen queued up outside the many polling stations in all districts well before voting began at 7 am.

Around 25 percent of the 7,68,181 voters cast their votes by 10 am, Deputy Additional Chief Electoral Officer CC Lalchhuangkina told IANS over the phone quoting reports from all eight districts.

"Conducive situation and favourable weather helped the people to exercise their franchise smoothly," he added.

"Except for a few EVMs (Electronic Voting Machines)- VVPAT (Voters Verifiable Paper Audit Trail) device malfunctioning, no untoward incident was reported so far.

"Like previous elections, polling was absolutely peaceful. As Mizo society is very disciplined and Church guided, electioneering has always been incident-free in the state," he said.

Congress has been trying to retain its grip on its last bastion in the North East. The grand old party has been in power since 2008 and is eyeing its third consecutive term, is being led by Chief Minister Lal Thanhawla, who in recent elections thwarted the BJP's attempts to gets its lotus to bloom in the Vidhan Sabha of this Christian-majority state.

However, the BJP has reason to be optimistic. From anti-incumbency to alcohol, a variety of factors could make the Congress' quest to retain its hold on power more difficult.

Mizoram witnessed a 15 percent voter turnout till 9 am, as per the Chief Election Commission. The voting process started at 7 am and will continue till 4 pm. Polling for Bru refugess will end at 3 pm.

Mizoram's international borders with Myanmar and Bangladesh, as well as state borders with Tripura, Assam and Manipur, have been sealed since Sunday in view of the polls.

Lalthanfela, a differently-abled first-time voter cast his vote at Zarkawt-II in Aizawl, and said that he hopes that Congress retains power in Mizoram. Young voters in the state want infrastructure development, improvement of road and education system.

Incumbent chief minister Lal Thanhawla is also slated to cast his vote at Zarkawt-II in Aizawl, which falls under Aizawl North-III constituency.

Of the 865 voters at this polling station, 107 voters have so far cast their votes since 7 am. The area's sitting Congress MLA Lal Thanzara, who also holds the health portfolio, cast his vote at 7 am as well. He was tipped against MNF nominee C Lalmuanpuia, BJP's VL Awia, ZPM candidate C Lalhmingthanga and Zoramthar Lalremsiama Ralte.

Altogether, 47 of 1,179 polling booths have been classified as 'critical' and as many as 'vulnerable' by the Election Commission.

 The election office sources said 40 companies of the central armed police force, in addition to the state police force, have been deployed to ensure free and fair polling.
Each constituency has one polling booth exclusively for women voters, manned by women polling and security personnel. These booths have been named after a flower called 'Dingdi'.

Mizoram Bru Displaced People's Forum demanded setting up a special polling station in a relief camp in Tripura's Kanchanpur to help pregnant women, senior citizens and differently abled people to cast their votes.

The Forum's General Secretary Bruno Msha said that the election commission has been made aware of the demand on Tuesday. However, chief electoral officer Ashish Kundra confirms that there are 12,026 Bru voters coming from relief camps in Tripura.

Former Mizoram chief minister and MNF leader Zoramthanga rules out the possibility of a hung Assembly, adding that he was confident enough to form the party.

He also said that one of the promises that the party would keep is the ban of liquor. "Congress had failed the Church and the people by selling liquor," Zoramthanga said.

Eight parties are in the fray for the 40-member Mizoram Assembly.

Polling started for the Mizoram Assembly election at 7 am on Wednesday. The total number of candidates this time is 209, almost 67 higher than 2013. Mizo National Front (MNF) Leader Zoramthanga will cast his vote at Aizwal's Ramhlun Venglai.

The MNF is an integral regional party which was in power for two terms between 1998-2003 and 2003-2008. The state's electorate is 7,68,181.

Gearing up its entire machinery for assembly polls in Mizoram, the authorities have decided to connect all polling booths through wireless communication for the first time leaving no "shadow areas" at all.

Mizoram, having a difficult hilly terrain, is going for assembly elections on Wednesday to elect 40 MLAs.

"For the first time in Mizoram's election history, all polling booths will be covered by wireless communication. It will help in timely reporting of every development and progress of the polling," Mizoram Deputy Inspector General of Police (Training & Armed Branch) Joseph Lalchhuana told PTI in an interview.

Till the last election in 2014 for the Lok Sabha, not all areas were connected through wireless technology and there was a delay in receiving information from far-flung booths, he added.

Lalchhuana, who is also the Assistant State Police Nodal Officer for the assembly elections, said: "By doing this (wireless connection), we have eliminated all shadow areas from Mizoram. Shadow areas means the place where there is no communication."

For operating the system as per the Election Commission of India guidelines, special training sessions were conducted for the Mizoram Police personnel and now everything is in place to conduct the polls efficiently, he added.

"We take pride in it. We have tested it under the direct supervision of our DGP Balaji Srivastava and are fully confident of supporting the Election Commission as and when required," Lalchhuana said.

Mizoram has 7,70,395 registered voters who will cast their franchise in 1,164 polling booths across the state, while an additional 15 special booths have been created at Kanhmun village in Mamit district for the Bru refugees coming from six camps in Tripura.

Lalchhuana said that during the poll campaigning, which ended last evening, the Mizoram Police had formed 84 flying squads, 39 dynamic check posts, 80 static surveillance teams and 80 quick response teams across the state to prevent any unlawful activities. "We have over 50 zonal police officers in the rank of DSP to SP. They are looking at the macro security arrangements in their respective areas. Above them, we have four grid DIGs along with the existing two range DIGs for overall responsibility," he added.

Mizoram has 38 police stations and it has recently set up five new outposts for ease of surveillance and confidence-building among voters. "The total sanctioned strength of Mizoram Police is around 13,000 personnel, but we have around 9,000 persons at present. They all will be involved in the poll process," the DIG said.

Mizoram Police is being assisted in its poll-related activities by 40 companies of central armed police forces (CAPF), comprising personnel from BSF, SSB, CRPF and Assam Police.

Lalchhuana said special attention has been given along the state's borders with Assam, Manipur and Tripura, while the Mizoram DGP has sought cooperation from his counterparts in these states. "At four inter-state border points, we are monitoring the movement of people through CCTV. This is a new initiative and we installed it before the poll process started," he added.

Lalchhuana also praised the public for cooperation in overall peace-keeping efforts during the election campaign across the state. He appreciated the people for depositing their licenced arms as soon as the election notification was announced despite this being the harvest season that typically sees attacks by wild boars on farmers' produce.

"We are repeatedly thanking the people for their cooperation. Mizoram has a track record of holding free and fair polls in the past. I had joined in 1986 and since then, I have witnessed no violence before or after the polling or after declaration of results," Lalchhuana said.

The ruling Congress and the main opposition party Mizo National Front (MNF) have fielded 40 candidates each, while the BJP is looking to open its account in the state for the first time by contesting in 39 seats.

The Zoram Peoples Movement (ZPM), an alliance formed by two political parties and four groups, is contesting in 35 seats. Counting of votes will be taken up on 11 December.

Ahead of the voting to elect a new Assembly in Congress-ruled Mizoram on Wednesday, the authorities on Tuesday sealed India's borders along the northeastern state with Myanmar and Bangladesh, an official said here on Tuesday.

A senior Mizoram Police official said that around 11,100 security personnel comprising central paramilitary and state security forces have been deployed to further tighten the security to foil any attempt to create any trouble during the Wednesday's polling.

"In view of the Assembly polls, BSF and Assam Rifles troopers have been asked to seal Mizoram's borders with Bangladesh and Myanmar and further intensify their vigil along the international frontiers to prevent any kind of cross-border movements by inimical elements," Mizoram's Joint Chief Electoral Officer Zorammuana told IANS.

He said: "Following the directions of the Election Commission, the authorities also asked the security forces to further tighten the security along Mizoram's inter-state borders with Tripura, Assam and Manipur. No movement other than of those associated with the election process would be allowed at the inter-state borders."

Mizoram shares 310-kilometre unfenced borders with Bangladesh and 510-kilometre boundaries with Myanmar without any fencing. The Border Security Force (BSF) troopers have been deployed along the Bangladesh borders, while the Assam Rifles, under the Army, have been posted along at the Myanmar borders.

Zorammuana said around 7,075 electoral officials have been engaged to conduct the elections from 7 am to 4 pm

Chief Electoral Officer Ashish Kundra said in Aizawl that the electoral officials escorted by security personnel have already reached all the 1,164 polling stations across the state.

The Election Commission has set up 15 special polling stations at Kanhmun, a village along the Mizoram-Tripura border, to facilitate voting by Reang tribal refugees, sheltered in Tripura for the past 21 years.

Of the over 35,000 tribal immigrants, 11,232 are eligible to cast their votes in the Assembly elections.

The CEO said that around 40 all-women managed polling stations have been set up across the constituencies in which the entire polling staff, including the police and security personnel, are women.

"The VVPAT (Voters Verifiable Paper Audit Trail) machines would be used along with EVMs (Electronic Voting Machines) in all the 40 constituencies to enhance transparency and credibility of the elections," Kundra told the media.

Unlike in other states of the country, Church-backed Mizoram People's Forum (MPF) plays a unique role in ensuring free and fair elections in Christian-dominated Mizoram.

Started in 2006, it launched an initiative equipped with a mechanism to name and shame any wrongdoing by a candidate or any individual on community loudspeakers for one and all to know. Significantly, the entire exercise is sincerely followed by each member of the deeply religious Mizo society.

A total of 209 candidates, 67 higher than in 2013 state polls, are in the fray for the Wednesday's elections to the 40-member Mizoram Assembly.

Of the 209 candidates, 15 are women. In 2013, only six women had contested and none were successful.

Like the previous elections, women voters once again outnumber the men in Mizoram. Of the 768,181 voters, there are 393,685 women and 374,496 men.

The five-year term of the Mizoram Assembly ends on 15 December.

Besides two national parties, the Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), many regional and local parties have fielded candidates in most of the 40 Assembly constituencies. They include main opposition Mizo National Front (MNF), People's Representation for Identity and Status of Mizoram (PRISM), Zoram People's Movement (ZPM) and Meghalaya-based National People's Party (NPP).

However, the main contest is likely to take place between the ruling Congress and the MNF.

The Congress has been in power, except for 10 years, since the Mizoram become a full-fledged state in 1987. The MNF, a constituent of the BJP-led North East Democratic Alliance (NEDA), ruled during those 10 years -- 1998-2003 and 2003-2008.

Vote will be counted on 11 December along with four other poll-bound states — Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Telangana and Chhattisgarh.

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