New Delhi: After the first round of counting of votes in Mizoram, the opposition, Mizo National Front (MNF) has won 26 seats. It has emerged victorious ahead of the incumbent Congress, which has won just 5 seats. The Zoram People’s Movement (ZPM) has won 7 seats according to the Election Commission.
The BJP’s B.D. Chakma wins the Tuichawng seat for the BJP, thus opening an account for the party in the state assembly, but its president J.V. Hulna has not only lost from Tawi but also his deposit.
The incumbent chief minister Lal Thanhawla has los both his seats in Champhai South and Serchhip to Lalnunthluanga of the MNF and Lalduhoma of the ZPM respectively.
This is the first time the Mizo leader has lost an election since 1973.
The traditional drift in the state’s electoral politics of changing a ruling party after every ten years has continued.
MNF, led by its president Pu Zoramthanga, ruled the State from 1998 to 2008 followed by the Congress under Pu Lal Thanhawla from 2008 onwards.
MNF chief Zoramthanga, contested from Aizawl East I seat and won 8,358 votes.
BJP’s Buddha Dhan Chakma, a rebel MLA from the Congress won the seat for that party in the 2013 assembly polls. Budha Dhan left the Congress after the Pu Hawla government denied medical seats to four Chakma students even after qualifying for them from the State’s medical quota in response to massive opposition by the powerful civil society group, Mizo Zirlai Pawl.
Counting of votes for the 40 assembly seats of Mizoram began at 8 am. Voting took place in a single phase on November 28.
The overall voting percentage was recorded at 80.15% against the 83.04% in the 2013 assembly polls.
The poll turn-out at the 15 booths set up for Bru voters in Kahnmun, the last village of Mizoram on the Tripura border, recorded only 56.46%. Special arrangements were made to bring the voters from the six refugee camps in North Tripura to Kahnmun in Mizoram’s Mamit district.
As many as 206 candidates were in the fray, out of which 15 were women, the highest in the state’s electoral history. The 2013 state assembly had only one woman MLA, elected in a by-election in 2014 from one of the two seats vacated by chief minister Lal Thanhawla.
While the Congress and the main opposition party, the Mizo National Front (MNF), contested all the seats, the BJP, for the first time, fielded 39 candidates. While the Zoram Nationalist Party (ZNP), a pre-poll alliance of six regional parties, fielded candidates in 35 constituencies, another regional party, Zoram Thar, fielded 25 candidates.
The 2018 elections saw the highest number of independent candidates at 59.
No party has returned to power for a third consecutive time in Mizoram. While the Mizo National Front (MNF) won the polls in 1998 and 2003 elections, the Congress won in 2008 and 2013.
Among the 40 assembly constituencies, there are seven seats where the state’s three big minority communities – the Chakmas, the Maras and the Brus – have a political say. The electoral fortunes of these seats – Siaha, Palak, Tuichawang, West Tuipui, Mamit, Hachhek and Dampa – had traditionally been shared by the Congress and the MNF.
Veteran politician from the Mara community, Hiphei, was contesting the polls from Palak constituency. The speaker in the last assembly, Hiphei left the Congress to join the BJP on November 5. He had wrested the Palak seat for the Congress from the MDF in 2013.
Lalduhouma, the ZNP president and the chief ministerial candidate of ZPM, the six-party alliance, is contesting from the Aizawl West I seat. He won the seat as a ZNP candidate in 2008. He is also contesting the 2018 polls from Serchip against Lal Thanhawla.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed an election rally in Lunglei on November 23.
BJP national president Amit Shah addressed public rallies in Lawngtlai and Vairengte on November 20. While the Lawnglai east seat went to the Congress in 2008 and 2013, the Lawngtlai West seat went to MNF in 2008 and to Congress in 2013.
Congress national president Rahul Gandhi addressed public rallies in Champhai near the Myanmar border and Mualpui, on the outskirts of Aizawl, on November 20. The Champhai North and South seats went to the Congress in 2008 and 2013.
Courtesy: The Wire