Aizawl, Apr 29 : Altogether 1,776 women candidates are in the fray for the elections to village councils and local councils, slated for April 30, in Mizoram, which is a strict patriarchal society where full gender parity in politics is still a far cry.
The campaigning for the elections to 536 village councils in six districts and 83 local councils under Aizawl Municipal Council, which came to an end this evening, witnessed a rise in the participation of women compared to past years. C. Lalawmpuii became the first woman MLA in Mizoram in 27 years after she won Hrangturzo Assembly bypoll last year.
This is for the first time the seats are reserved for women in the elections to local bodies, thanks to the state Assembly which passed Lushai Hills District (Village Council Amendment) Bill, 2014, according to which one seat shall be reserved for women in a village or local council having five seats, two seats in village or local council having seven seats, and three seats in village or local council having nine seats.
The state election commission today has imposed some restrictions under Section 126 of the Representation of the People Act, 1951 that prohibits "displaying any election matter by means, inter alia, of television or similar apparatus, during the period of 48 hours before the hour fixed for conclusion of poll in a constituency".
An official of the state election commission today told The Telegraph that the preparations for the elections to village and local councils have been done, while security has been beefed up to avoid any untoward incident.
The election commission said a total of 3,96,601 electorates would elect 2,278 village council members for 536 village councils, while 1,92,382 voters would seal the fate of 535 local council members for 83 local councils under the Aizawl Municipal Council area. Altogether 5,894 candidates, of which 1,465 are women, are in the fray for the village council polls in six of the eight districts - Aizawl, Lunglei, Sherchip, Champhai, Mamit and Kolosib.
The number of candidates for the local councils in Aizawl is 1,237. The autonomous district councils, under the framework of the Sixth Schedule, administrate elections in Lawngtlai and Saiha districts.
Of the total 597 polling stations set up for the village council polls, 21 have been declared "sensitive" of which eight are in Kolosib, six in Mamit and seven in Lunglei district. Tight security arrangements are being done at all these polling stations, which are predominantly located in Bru and HPC (D) militants' active zone, sources said today.
The elections are unlikely to be held in six villages in Kolosib district and 25 in Aizawl in northern Mizoram as not even a single candidate has filed nominations in the wake of the diktat issued by the HPC (D) militants to boycott the village council polls. There are 123 village council seats in these villages.
The ruling Congress and the Opposition Mizo National Front (MNF) are the main contenders in the ensuing polls. However, other parties like Mizoram People's Conference (MPC), Zoram Nationalist Party (ZNP), and the BJP also fielded candidates. The Congress fielded 2,127 candidates, MNF 1,693, ZNP 594, MPC 86 and BJP 200 for the village council polls, while 501 Congress, 460 MNF, 155 ZNP, 67 MPC and 14 BJP candidates are in the fray for the local council polls.