iconimg Monday, August 03, 2015

Rahul Karmakar/HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times
Aizawl, November 25, 2013
More than 81% of Mizoram’s electorate turned up to cast their vote for the assembly elections on Monday. “Till 4pm, 81.2% voters had exercised their franchise. The figure will increase as more voters were waiting till around 6pm for their turn,” said joint chief electoral officer H Lalengmawia.

He said voting was peaceful at all 1,126 polling stations, including 94 sensitive ones along Mizoram’s 284-km inter-state and 722-km international border.

The votes will be counted on December 9.

In the 2008 assembly elections, 82% of the 690,860-strong electorate had turned out to vote.

However, the total number of voters this year is likely to surpass that of the last polls. The voters will seal the fate of 142 candidates across 40 assembly constituencies Mizoram.

Chief minister Lal Thanhawla also cast his vote at a polling booth set up inside a school in Aizawl’s Zarkawt locality.

“We hope the people have given the Congress another chance to serve them and to carry on with our flagship programmes,” he said, before droving off to his home constituency of Serchhip, 60km south of Aizawl.

In 2008, the Congress had won 32 of the 40 seats. This time, the party has fielded 40 candidates with Thanhawla contesting two of them.

Its main rival is Mizo National Front (MNF), which formed the pre-poll Mizoram Democratic Alliance (MDA) with Mizoram People’s Conference and Maraland Democratic Front.

“We have reason to believe that the people are with us,” said party president and former chief minister Zoramthanga, after casting his vote in Ramhlun locality.

The MDA has fielded 40 candidates, with MNF contesting 31 seats and its allies the rest. The other major regional party, Zoram Nationalist Party, has contested 38 seats while BJP has put up candidates in 17 seats.

Monday also witnessed the large-scale use of voter-verified paper audit trail (VVPAT) in 217 polling stations across 10 assembly constituencies in Aizawl town.
The device gives voters feedback on whether their vote was cast as wished.