Pre-poll alliances, seat sharing talks and choosing of candidates - hectic political activity has begun in Mizoram that is headed for elections to its 40-member assembly November 29.
Political analysts feel that the elections would be a triangular fight between the ruling Mizo National Front (MNF), the main opposition Congress and the newly formed United Democratic Alliance (UDA).
The UDA was formed last month with the merging of the Mizoram People's Conference (MPC), the Zoram Nationalist Party (ZNF) and the Zoram Kuthnathawktu Pawl (ZKP), a civic organisation.
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has also announced that it will contest the elections.
"The realignment of political parties is a common phenomenon before every election here," said political analyst Zodin Sanga.
Sandwiched between Myanmar in the east and south and Bangladesh in the west, Mizoram with an estimated population of one million, occupies an area of great strategic importance.
The five-year term of the present Mizoram assembly expires December 14. In the 2003 assembly elections, the ruling MNF secured 21 seats and the Congress 12, while seven went to smaller parties.
"We shall finalise our party's candidates in the October 30 general meeting and after that the names of the nominees would be announced," said V. Zokungpuia, MNF information and publicity secretary.
He told IANS: "Clean, efficient and young popular leaders would be given priority for nominations."
The main opposition Congress, headed by Lal Thanhawla, a former chief minister, is holding talks for a pre-poll alliance with the newly floated Mipui Tangrual Pawl (United People's Party), which is demanding six seats.
"We would finalise the alliance and allotment of seats to the MTP after talking with the central leaders including All India Congress Committee (AICC) president Sonia Gandhi," said Congress spokesman Lalsawta.
"The UDA would also finalise the alliance's seat sharing soon. A joint assembly of the constituent parties would be held early next month to finalise the poll strategies, candidatures and other issues," UDA spokesperson C. Lallianchhunga told reporters here.
Apart from the three major groupings, the BJP and a few independent candidates have announced their intention to fight the elections.
According to the Election Commission schedule, the notification for the elections to the 40-member (39 are reserved for the tribals and one general) Mizoram Assembly would be issued on November 5, the last date for filling of nominations is November 12 and the scrutiny of nominations would take place the next day. The last date for withdrawal of nominations is November 15.
In all, 611,124 electors are eligible to exercise their franchise in the coming elections and more than 91 per cent voters are covered under the Electors Photo Identity Cards (EPIC).