GUWAHATI: With poll results declared on Sunday for four out of the five states that went to assembly elections last month, all eyes are now set on counting of votes in Mizoram on Monday.
The counting of votes in Mizoram was earlier scheduled for Sunday along with Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh and Telangana. However, following appeals by political parties and organisations citing special significance of Sunday for the people of Mizoram, a Christian-majority state, the Election Commission on November 29 deferred the counting to Monday.
In the northeastern state, which voted to elect its 40-member legislative assembly on November 7, four major contenders are in the fray — the ruling Mizo National Front (MNF), the Zoram People’s Movement (ZPM), the Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
Most exit polls have predicted a tight contest between the two regional parties — MNF and ZPM. While two exit polls, conducted by India Today-Axis and Jan ki Baat-News 18, have projected ZPM as favourites, two others — ABP-Cvoter and P-Marg — gave advantage to the MNF. The Congress has been projected at third position followed by the BJP by the exit polls.
“The exit polls may say anything. But I am confident that MNF will get majority on its own and return to power,” Vanlalzawma, MNF vice-president, said.
ZPM chief Lalduhoma refused to comment on the exit polls, but expressed confidence of forming the next government.
“We have done our bit. Now it’s up to providence on what the results will be. I haven’t seen the exit polls and don’t want to comment on them,” state Congress president Lalsawta said.
In 2018, the MNF ousted the Congress from power by winning 26 seats. The ZPM, which was formed a year before the previous polls, came second winning eight seats, relegating the Congress, which bagged five, to the third spot. The BJP made its debut in the Christian-majority state by winning a lone seat.
While MNF, ZPM and Congress have fielded candidates in all 40 seats, the BJP is contesting in 23 constituencies. A total of 174 candidates, including 16 women and 17 Independents, were in the fray. The outgoing assembly had no women legislator.
Polling for the Mizoram assembly elections saw a voter turnout of 80.66% on November 7. The Election Commission said it has made elaborate arrangements for the counting of votes, which will be held at 13 locations across the state on Monday.
“There will be 40 counting halls in all. Around 4,000 counting and other support staff would be on duty,” chief electoral officer (CEO) Madhup Vyas informed. “To ensure security, 10 companies of central armed police forces (CAPF) and around 2,000 personnel from Mizoram police would also be engaged.”
Elections in Mizoram have largely centered around the Congress and the MNF, with the two parties being in the power at different periods since the formation of the state in 1987. This time around, however, the ZPM has emerged as a serious contender in the state.
“The regional parties, MNF and ZPM, are in a tight race and clearly ahead of the two national parties, Congress and BJP. The grand old party’s aims of a revival won’t succeed and BJP won’t be able to win more than three seats,” J Doungel, professor of political science at Mizoram University, said.