It is the all powerful Presbyterian Church controlled Mizoram People’s Forum (MPF), an election watchdog, that dictates the dos and don’ts of campaigning.
All the main political parties in the State, including ruling Congress, main opposition Mizoram Democratic Alliance (MDA) led by Mizoram National Front (MNF) and BJP, have signed an agreement with MPF to abide by the dos and dont’s.
“We have the people’s support in taking up this cause of election watch. Guidelines have been laid to check any wrongdoings and avoid any kind of violence in the polls and to ensure free, fair and peaceful elections,” said MPF President Rev Lalramlian Pachuau.
Political parties campaign on joint platforms organised by the MPF, where all the contestants of an Assembly segment debate poll issues, development work and other matters, moderated by a MPF member.
People Assembled at these programs directly ask questions to contenders.
“We try our best to make total use of these joint platforms to single out poor development work and corruption of the present Congress regime. We try to expose the present State Government in these platforms,” senior MNF leader Biak Thansauga said.
The clout of the MPF can be gauged from the fact that in every council or village council area only three banners, thirty flags and 20 posters of a candidate is allowed for every party. Wall graffiti is prohibited.
Only a few street corner rallies can be witnessed across Mizoram. There are only a few big rallies such as the one by the Prime Minister or by heavyweight politicians.
MPF has banned door to door campaign by contenders in the last ten days before the polls to prevent voters being influenced in any manner.
Political parties are, however, distributing pamphlets door to door.