Poll preparations begin in Mizoram

September 25th, 2008 - 2:53 pm ICT by IANS  

Sonia GandhiAizawl, Sep 25 (IANS) Poll fever has already gripped Mizoram with parleys on among political parties ahead of the Election Commission’s formal announcement for holding assembly elections.Elections are likely to be held in November with the term of the 40-member Mizoram assembly expiring Dec 14.

“The Election Commission held a meeting in New Delhi last month and reviewed preparation of electoral identity cards, electoral rolls, electronic voting machines, besides taking stock of the law and order situation,” said Lalhringthanga, joint chief electoral officer of Mizoram.

Political parties have already begun confabulations. There are three main political players in the state - the ruling Mizo National Front (MNF), the main opposition Congress party, and the recently floated United Democratic Alliance (UDA).

The UDA is a three-party alliance of the Mizoram People’s Conference (MPC), the Zoram Nationalist Party (ZNF) and the Zoram Kuthnathawktu Pawl (ZKP).

Twenty-three MNF legislators and the lone Mara Democratic Front (MDF) member now support Chief Minister Zoramthanga’s government.

In the outgoing assembly main opposition Congress has nine legislators, Mizoram People’s Conference (MPC) and Zoram Nationalist Party (ZNP) have two each and there are three independents.

“Corruption would be our main poll plank,” said MPC chairman Lalhmingthanga and leader of UDA.

The Congress, led by Lalthanhawla, three-time former chief minister, sprang a surprise last May by including a breakaway faction of the Mizoram Congress Party (MCP) in its fold. Analysts say this could significantly improve the prospects of the Congress in the coming poll.

All India Congress president Sonia Gandhi has nominated Margaret Alva, a Congress general secretary, as the head of the 10-member Congress campaign committee in Mizoram.

Three Assam ministers, Himanta Biswa Sarma, Gautam Roy and Pradyut Bordoloi and former Tripura Pradesh Congress president Birajit Sinha are also part of the committee.

The influential Mizoram People’s Forum (MPF), a conglomeration of major churches and NGOs, has sought the help of the Isak-Muivah faction of the National Socialist Council of Nagaland (NSCN-IM) to persuade militant groups not to interfere during the polls. Senior MPF vice president Zosangliana Colney and general secretary Lalbiakmawia Ngente met top NSCN-IM leaders V.S. Atem and Lalhminglien in Kolkata last week.

“We sought NSCN-IM’s help to ensure that no armed insurgent group from neighbouring states interfere in the forthcoming assembly polls and the NSCN leadership has assured of help,” Colney, a senior leader of the Mizoram Presbyterian Church, told journalists.

Colney also indicated that the MPF would talk to other separatist outfits in neighbouring Manipur, Assam and Tripura, if the need arose. “The MPF wants free, fair and peaceful elections,” he said.

The MPF also issued poll diktats to political parties and how to go ahead with their campaigning and choosing candidates.

The Presbyterian Church, the largest Christian church in the northeastern state with over 455,700 members, urged political parties not to nominate candidates who are corrupt or indulged in immoral activities.

“The political parties are requested to put up candidates who have clean image and good moral character and who refrain from social evils,” said the Presbyterian church message, read out in all the 1,086 churches in the state.

“Door-to-door campaign always leads to covert use of money by political parties, candidates and party workers to persuade electors, so it is strongly discouraged,” Colney said.

Related Stories

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Posted in Politics |