Sinlung /
24 October 2013

Mizoram Election: Update Oct 24

Main Mizo oppn comes together

By ADAM HALLIDAY

Aizawl, Oct 24 : The Mizoram National Front and the Mizoram People's Conference, which respectively won the second and third best tallies of votes in the last elections but managed only five of 40 seats, have reached a seat-sharing agreement this time.

The MNF and MPC together got 41 per cent of the total votes last time, higher than the Congress's 40 per cent. Yet it was the latter that stormed to power with 32 seats.

Historically, the MNF and the MPC have been seen as political foes. The former, founded by former separatist leader Laldenga, was engaged in two decades of insurgency against New Delhi seeking a separate country for Mizos beginning 1966. The MPC was founded by retired Indian Army brigadier Thenphunga Sailo and began as a "human rights committee" that from 1972 peacefully fought against human rights excesses committed by both the Indian armed forces and the MNF.

Under the seat-sharing agreement, the MNF will field candidates in 32 seats and the MPC in the remaining eight.

Highly placed sources said the agreement was reached after long-drawn negotiations that spread over several weeks between three-member delegations form each party, with the MNF at first willing to yield only seven seats while the MPC insisted on 10. The two parties have however not yet agreed as to which seats will be contested by which party's candidates.

The two are currently working together in the opposition in the Aizawl Municipal Council.

Oppn parties in Mizoram seek VVPAT in EVM machines

Aizawl: Four Opposition parties in Mizoram have urged the Election Commission to introduce Electronic Voting Machine equipped with Voters Verifiable Paper Audit (VVPAT) system during the Assembly polls to be held here on December 4.

In a joint appeal sent to the Chief Election Commissioner V S Sampath yesterday the Mizo National Front (MNF), Mizoram People's Conference (MPC), Zoram Nationalist Party (ZNP) and BJP said people have the right to exercise franchise without doubts and fear of manipulations and the VVPAT would ensure transparency.

The VVPAT system enables a voter to see in print the vote cast by him. However, the paper slip of his vote is not handed over to him and is kept separately at the polling booth.

The VVPAT was successfully experimented during the Assembly by-polls in Nagaland on September 4 last and found to be reliable, they said in a letter.

"There are still some developed countries which are continuing with the use of ballot papers due to its reliability and less chances of being tampered with," they said.

"Some political parties in Mizoram had voiced their doubts about the EVMs and expressed suspicion that they could be tampered with and manipulated," the letter said.

War Room: Mizoram

By Rahul Karmakar

RULING PARTY: congress

SUMMARY: The atmosphere around the party headquarters at Treasury Square, Aizawl, is relaxed. There’s an air of confidence borne out of the party’s connect with the rural areas through a ‘sustainable’ employment-generation programme.

KEY STRATEGISTS: CM Lal Thanhawla,71; Thanhawla’s younger brother Lal Thanzara, 62; finance minister H Liansailova, 71 and home minister R Lalzirliana, 64. No Congress leader in Mizoram towers over Thanhawla, an education department employee-turned-banker-turned-militant-turned-politician who speaks his mind. He runs the poll plan but has deputed much of the organisational work to his brother, a leading contractor who made his electoral debut at the age of 57 in 2008. The finance minister, a former IAS officer and the home minister, whose organisational skills come from his long-term association with the Young Mizo Association, a traditional social organization, are other members.

APPROACH: The party has tweaked its strategies to cater to gen-next by projecting younger leaders, taking preventive measures to check drug addiction and promoting sports as an income-generation opportunity, besides offering financial packages to the unemployed. Thanhawla seems to be pragmatic in accepting the multi-party challenge in the elections. “Mizoram is a small state but the geography is such that we cannot be a one-man show,” he said.

Opposition : Mizo National Front

SUMMARY: The ‘scene’ at the headquarters of these three parties is more frenzied than the Congress.

Key strategists: Former CM and party president Zoramthanga, 69; party vice-president Tawnluia, 70; and senior functionary R Lalthangliana, 57

APPROACH: “We are trying to reinvent ourselves among people drifting away from Mizoram’s past,” said Tawnluia. Apart from promising the poor financial packages fatter than the Congress’ NLUP, the party is trying to appeal to ‘Mizoram’s future’ by drawing upon its contributions.

Zoram Nationalist Party

Key strategists: party president Lalduhawma, 64, and deputy Lialtlinga, 60

APPROACH: “We are relying on our new youth-oriented programmes such as forming a Research and Analysis Wing and a Facebook group to study, understand and discuss youth issues for designing packages, to become a force,” said Lalduhawma.

Mizoram People’s Conference

Key strategists: Party president Lalhmangaiha Sailo, 65

APPROACH: MPC has the onerous task of rebuilding itself under former Indian Revenue Service officer Lalhmangaiha Sailo. Sailo became MPC president in 2011 but in the process other party veterans formed a breakaway party that eventually merged with MNF. “Thankfully, the party has many loyalists,” he said. MPC has been organising music and sports meets to acquaint the youth with the Sailo aura.

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