Mizoram Elections 2018: The voting for Mizoram assembly elections 2018 came to an end with 75 per cent voter turnout being recorded until 5 PM. The voting started at 7 AM and was scheduled to continue till 4 PM. The state has 7.70 lakh eligible voters who will decide the fate of candidates. The election is being seen as a major test for Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Congress. The state assembly elections hold significance as they come barely a year ahead of Lok Sabha Elections 2019.
Security has been beefed up in the state to avoid any untoward incident. The Congress and the Mizoram National Party (MNF) have ruled Mizoram since 1987 when it became a full-fledged state. Interestingly, no party has been able to form government thrice since that year.
Election to the 40-member assembly in Mizoram, which has a population of about 10 lakh, is significant for the BJP that considers it to be the ‘final frontier’ in the region. In the 2013 elections, the Congress had won 34 seats, while its main opposition, the Mizo National Front (MNF), got five and the Mizoram People’s Conference bagged one seat.
The Congress and the MNF have fielded 40 candidates each, while the BJP is contesting in 39 seats. The Zoram Peoples Movement (ZPM), an alliance formed by two political parties and four groups, is contesting in 35 seats.
A pre-poll survey, conducted by C-Voter has predicted 17 seats for the MNF, 12 for the INC, none for the ZPM and two for Others. This indicates a close contest between the prime rivals – the MNF and the Congress.
A total of 209 candidates are in the fray for today’s polls and the fate of the candidates would be decided by 7,70,395 voters, which include 3,94,897 women. Electronic voting machines (EVMs) was used during the polling.
Ahead of elections, the state witnessed intense protests by civil society groups over the place of voting for 12,026 Bru voters. The issue led to the replacement of Chief Electoral Officer SB Shashank in less than two weeks before the polls.
Campaigning in the state saw paradigm shift this election season with political parties making extensive use of social media platforms like Facebook and Whatsapp to woo young voters.
The ruling Congress banked heavily for the elections on its flagship New Land Use Policy (NLUP), which brought the party to power for two consecutive terms.
The campaign had reached its peak in the final week with the visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, BJP president Amit Shah, and Congress president Rahul Gandhi.
Other prominent leaders who campaigned in the state included Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh, DoNER Minister Jitendra Singh, National People’s Party (NPP) leader and Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad Sangma.