Aizawl, Nov 7 (UNI): The election to the 40-seat Mizoram Assembly saw an impressive voter turnout at 74.82% from 7 am to 4 pm on Tuesday. The election here was held in a single phase.
Though polling stations were supposed to be closed by 4 pm, voters were in queues inside many polling stations even after the closing time. State Additional Chief Electoral Officer H. Lianzela said the final turnout could be well over 80% as voting was on in many polling stations.
Lianzela, who is also the nodal officer for the media cell, said the election passed off peacefully as usual with no untoward incidents reported from any of the 1,276 polling stations across the state.
The democratic exercise began with much enthusiasm at 7 am as large numbers of people in colourful attire lined up at their respective polling stations across the mountainous Christian-majority state to elect their representatives for the next five years.
Home voting facility was introduced in the assembly election for people above 80 years of age. Even so, many of them, including nonagenarians and even centenarians, chose to attend the polling stations.
Chief minister and ruling Mizo National Front (MNF) head Zoramthanga cast his vote at his home polling station Ramhlun Venglai after 9:00 am, after his earlier attempt to vote was prevented by EVM snag.
Zoramthanga, talking to reporters, after he cast his vote, expressed confidence that his party would retain power, with at least 25 seats.
Mizoram Governor Hari Babu Kambhampati cast his vote at a polling booth in Aizawl South-II. Zoram People’s Movement (ZPM) working president K Sapdanga pressed the EVM button at Aizawl North-III constituency.
Veteran Congressman and five-time chief minister Lal Thanhawla exercised his franchise at Zarkawt. The 85-year-old is not contesting this time, for the first time in 45 years.
An electorate of 8,56,868, including 4,39,026 women, spread across 1,276 polling stations are eligible to choose lawmakers from a pool of 170 candidates in India’s second least populated and fifth smallest state.
Four of the candidates are contesting from two assembly seats each making it a pool of 174 contestants.
The MNF, ZPM and the Congress are contesting all the assembly constituencies while the BJP is in the fray in 23 seats and the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) in four seats. There are 27 independent aspirants.
Besides 3,000 odd state police personnel, 450 sections of central armed police forces (CAPF) have been deployed to prevent any breach of peace. There are 21 general observers, 14 expenditure observers and 11 police observers to oversee the polling process.
There are 29 vulnerable polling stations and one critical polling station, mainly along the international border areas across the state.
Webcasting is being done in 769 (60%) of the polling stations, Election Commission sources said.
In the 2018 poll, the MNF had wrested power from the Congress by winning 26 seats, while the ZPM emerged as the principal opposition party with eight seats. The Congress got five seats, and the BJP one.
The votes will be counted on December 3.