Around 70 percent turnout in Mizoram Assembly polls

December 2nd, 2008 - 10:20 pm ICT by ANI  

New Delhi, Dec 2 (ANI): Around 70 per cent voter turnout was witnessed in the elections for the 40-member Mizoram Assembly today.

Polling was held amidst tight security in the remote north-eastern state of Mizoram today.

This is the fourth assembly poll since Mizoram attained statehood in February 1987; a year after the Mizo Peace Accord was signed. The three main contenders are the ruling Mizo National Front (MNF), the Congress and the United Democratic Alliance.

Security forces had sealed the 722-kilometer-long international border along Bangladesh and Myanmar and Mizoram’’s borders with Manipur, Assam and Tripura.

A majority of the polling booths in the state had been declared as hyper-sensitive or sensitive. Additional state police personnel had been deployed along Mizoram’’s borders with Manipur and Assam. The Border Security Force and the Assam Rifles manned the international borders.

The centre had sent five additional companies of central paramilitary forces as against the state’’s plea for 15 additional companies. Mizoram has three armed police battalions and four India Reserve battalions, besides state police spread over all the eight districts.

In Mizoram, women voters outnumber their male counterparts by 6,654.

Nine women candidates are in the fray for this year’’s polls. Women bodies like the Mizo Hmeichhe Insuihkhawm Pawl (MHIP) or the Mizo Women’’s Federation and the newly-formed Women Welfare Front (WWF) are hopeful about women making it to the State Legislature.

State election officials said that majority of the 2,900 service voters and around 8,000 Bru voters, now lodged in six relief camps in neighbouring Tripura have exercised franchise through postal ballots.

The oldest candidate is the 85-year-old former chief minister and chief ministerial candidate of the United Democratic Alliance (UDA) Brigadier Thenphunga Sailo who is contesting from the prestigious Aizawl West-II seat where he is pitted against 36-year-old Lalruatkima of the ruling Mizo National Front (MNF) and the Congress lone woman candidate Zothankimi.

The MNF contested 39 seats while its pre-poll partner the Mara Democratic Front (MDF) is contesting from one constituency.

The Congress is contesting all the 40 seats and the UDA, a pre-poll alliance of the Mizoram People’’s Conference and the Zoram Nationalist Party (ZNP) is contesting 37 seats.

Political parties like the Bharatiy Janata Party (BJP), the NCP, the Lok Janshakti Party and Lok Bharti also fielded candidates and there are 36 independent candidates. (ANI)

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