Sinlung /
03 November 2013

Mizoram Election Update: Nov 3

No nominations filed for Mizoram Assembly polls till now

An election official checks an EVM before taking it to the respective constituency from Aizawl in this December 1, 2008. File photo
An election official checks an EVM before taking it to the respective constituency from Aizawl
No nominations have been filed so far for the coming 40-member Mizoram Assembly elections scheduled for November 25, even as the filing of nominations started from Friday last.
State Joint Chief Electoral Officer H. Lalengmawia told PTI that no nomination has been received till 3 p.m. on Sunday.
The filing of nominations will continue till November 8, he said.
Meanwhile, the ruling Congress has announced its candidates for 40 seats with 31 seats to be contested by sitting legislators and Chief Minister Lal Thanhawla contesting from two seats -- his home turf Serchhip as well as from the Hrangturzo constituency, now being held by Mizoram People’s Conference (MPC).
There were five new faces while veteran politicians like former speaker Hiphei and former chief executive member of the Lai Autonomous District Council C. Ngunlianchunga also in the fray.
Opposition Mizo National Front (MNF), MPC and Maraland Democratic Front (MDF) forging a pre-poll alliance under the banner of Mizoram Democratic Alliance (MDA) had announced 12 candidates and other 28 names would be announced tomorrow.
The Zoram Nationalist Party (ZNP) would also announce its candidates tomorrow while the BJP, which would contest 11 seats, has already announced its candidates.

CM Lalthanhawla is his constituency's ‘chief guest minister’


There are no petrol pumps in Thenzawl, a sub-town of 8,000 people 78 km south of Mizoram capital Aizawl. So Zoram Engmawia pays Rs. 20 more per litre from the black market to fill up his autorickshaw. It works out cheaper than travelling to the nearest oil outlet at Serchhip town, 28 kms away.
Engmawia, 36, does not mind the inconvenience; he earns an average Rs. 500 a day despite the fuel ‘surcharge’, more than double the sum he used to make as a farmer.

“Lal Thanhawla will provide us a petrol pump too if there are more like us,” said fellow autorickshaw-owner RC Lalrintluanga, 37. He has a point. Thenzawl had no auto-rickshaws until four of them were made beneficiaries under the Rs. 2,873-crore New Land Use Policy (NLUP), the Congress’ flagship self-employment programme.
Lal Thanhawla, Mizoram’s chief minister, represents the Serchhip assembly constituency, which  encompasses large swathes of Serchhip and Thenzawl civil sub-divisions. Weaver Malsawmi, 37, is also effusive in her admiration of Lal Thanhawla’s policies.
Four months ago, she received fiscal aid under the NLUP for expanding her weaving unit at her village in Upper Thenzawl.

The NLUP, though, is not the only factor why Serchhip roots for arguably the tallest politician in Mizoram. It invariably gets preference for all beneficiary schemes and developmental projects. Lal Thanhawla’s other pluses are his sociability.
He attends public, social and private functions across his constituency. The frequency of his visits has made the opposition refer to him as the ‘chief guest minister’.  The chief minister does not mind this sobriquet. “My people know the reality, and that’s what matters,” he said.

Locals say his approach to his constituency changed after the Mizo National Front’s K Thangzuala ended his winning streak (since 1984) in 1998. He wrested the seat back in 2003, and the attention he showered since then, made him retain the seat in 2008 by a bigger margin.

Mizo Oppn parties launch joint campaign


Christening themselves the Mizoram Democratic Alliance (MDA), three Mizoram opposition parties on Friday kick-started their joint campaign for the upcoming polls and announced 12 candidates that will contest from southern Mizoram. The rest are expected to be declared next week.
The MDA is made up of the Mizo National Front, the Mizoram People's Conference and the Maraland Democratic Front. The trio has five seats between them in the current 40-seat Mizoram Assembly. Under a seat-sharing agreement finalised earlier this week, the MNF will field candidates in 31 seats, the MPC in 8 and the MDF in 1.

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