iconimg Wednesday, September 02, 2015

Press Trust Of India
Aizawl, April 11, 2014
Despite a slow down in polling at midday due to the scorching heat, voter turnout was around 50% till 2pm on Friday for elections to the lone Mizoram Lok Sabha seat and by-poll to the Hrangturzo assembly seat. State chief electoral officer Ashwani Kumar said the turnout would be higher than 50.93% recorded in the 2009 Lok Sabha polls but it might not reach 83.41% as in the 2013 state ässembly polls.

Polling was completely peaceful in the 1,126 polling stations across the state, he said.

Chief minister Lal Thanhawla expressed hope that Congress candidates would win both the Lok Sabha and Hrangturzo assembly seats.

Talking to reporters after exercising his franchise at the Zarkawt Polling Station-II in Aizawl, Lal Thanhawla said, "In Hrangurzo seat, our candidate would receive more votes than I did during the 2013 assembly elections."

Meanwhile, ruling Congress candidate CL Ruala for the lone Lok Sabha seat alleged that money power was extensively used by one of his opponent, Robert Romawia Royte of the United Democratic Front (UDF), an independent nominee sponsored by the eight opposition party combine.

Royte denied the charge and hoped that he would win the elections, especially if the voter turnout was more than 70%.

Altogether seven VVPAT machines developed technical snag during polling for the lone Lok Sabha seat in Mizoram on Friay, election office sources said in Aizawl.

Engineers of the Bharat Electronics Limited, manufacturers of the machines, were sent to repair them. Except for these technical snags, EVMs were functioning properly, state election department officials said.

An Election Commission official said that the balloting was peaceful so far and no untoward incident was reported from anywhere in the state that borders Myanmar and Bangladesh.

"Young, new and women voters wearing traditional costumes lined up well before the polling stations open at 7am. First time voters are very excited to cast their ballots," the official told IANS.

The polling will end at 5 p.m., one hour more than the previous elections.

The Mizoram Lok Sabha seat is witnessing a three-cornered contest between the ruling Congress, Aam Aadmi Party and the United Democratic Front which is an alliance of eight opposition parties.

Congress has fielded its sitting MP CL Ruala, while UDF has nominated Robert Romawia Royte. AAP has put up Michael Lalmanzuala as its candidate for the seat.

An electorate of 7,02,189, of whom 3,55,954 are women are eligible to cast votes in 1,126 polling stations.

In 385 polling stations, mainly in urban areas, the VVPAT system, under which a paper trail would show the voters their choice of candidates, has been installed.

Eight companies of central paramilitary forces apart from six state armed battalions as well as unarmed policemen are looking after the security. International borders with Myanmar and Bangladesh and inter-state borders have been sealed, official sources said.

The election, scheduled for April 9, was shifted to April 11 after a clutch of civil society bodies called a 72-hour bandh from April 7 to protest against the EC's permission to Bru refugees, camped in Tripura, to vote in that state instead of Mizoram which the strikers had demanded.

(With inputs from IANS)

Watch: Mizoram goes to polls for lone seat