In a state with an average of 17,157 electors in 40 assembly constituencies, a family of 200 voters matters. Understandably, leaders of all parties made it a point to visit Ziona Chana, 68, at his Baktawng village, 100km south of Aizawl town.
Head of the Christian Channa cult that endorses polygamy, Ziona’s family has 186 members, including his 39 wives. His relatives staying together ensure an adult headcount of more than 200. Then there are about 3,000 members of his cult at Baktawng and adjoining hamlets, enough to swing votes in favour of any candidate.
Baktawng falls in the Tuikum constituency, whose Congress representative K Lianzuala is up against Lalrinawma of the Mizo National Front and PC Vanlalruata of the Zoram Nationalist Party.
Ziona and his extended family live in a four-storeyed house with 100 rooms. They are self-sufficient, with most members engaged in a certain trade. They have, in official records, made the best utilisation of schemes under the Congress government’s pro-poor New Land Use Policy in the state.