Mizoram will be voting for new leadership in two weeks. During past elections, there have been allegations that alcohol was used to influence voters in this dry state.
Chief election commissioner V S Sampath has given a direct notice to the Mizoram excise and narcotics department to ensure Mizoram has a sober election. "Use of alcohol to influence voters is strictly prohibited," he said.
"We have re-enforced our personnel at all porous spots on the state's borders - especially at Vairengte and Champhai neighbouring Assam and Myanmar respectively," said Lalhmunsanga, commissioner of Mizoram excise and narcotics department.
"The chief election commissioner has sent me a direct notification to clamp down on booze bribes. The use of liquor to woo voters is one of the worst and most demoralizing forms of political corruption, and we will try our level best to avoid it," the commissioner added.
The Mizoram excise and narcotics department has stepped up vigil in the state's capital Aizawl and daily arrests and seizure reports are being handed over to the state election officials.
"Booze has long been considered an essential part of election campaigns. During past elections, local vigilantes and even the church has tried to put a stop to this practice, but it's almost an impossible task for these volunteers, as they simply cannot frisk everyone and check every car," Lalchhandama, a local resident said.
The Mizoram Liquor Total Prohibition (MLTP) Act was put into place in 1995. Since then the cost of bootlegged booze has been escalating over the years. A bottle a premium whisky costs around Rs 1,000. Alcohol has therefore turned into a powerful medium for lobbying in Mizoram.
The negative effects of the prohibition in Mizoram include widespread sale of spurious liquor, and the rise of organized bootlegging.