A voter turn-out of over 60 percent was recorded in elections to Mizoram’s lone Lok Sabha seat while 75 percent of the electorate voted in bye-polls to the vacant Hrangturzo assembly seat on Friday, according to Mizoram Chief Electoral Officer Ashwani Kumar.
Polling was peaceful across the state with no incidents of violence reported. However, seven EVMs and 24 VVPAT machines had to be replaced after they developed errors.
The fight for the parliamentary seat for which there are 7.02 lakh eligible voters is a triangular contest between the ruling Congress’ C L Ruala, Robert Romawia Royte, an independent backed by a seven-party alliance of opposition parties and the Aam Aadmi Party’s M Lalmanzuala, a retired bureaucrat.
The assembly bye-polls for the Hrangturzo seat won and later vacated by CM Lal Thanhawla for his bastion Serchhip in elections last November is being contested by the opposition alliance’s Lalduhawma and the ruling Congress’ youth president Lalawmpuii, who hopes to be the first woman MLA in the state since 1987.
The polls were initially scheduled to be held on April 9 but the ECI deferred it by two days due to a protest bandh organized by five mass-based voluntary organizations unhappy with the poll panel’s decision to allow more than 11,000 displaced Brus to cast their vote for Mizoram’s lone LS seat and 40-seat assembly elections from within Tripura.
The ECI has since said the displaced Brus, who fled ethnic conflict in Mizoram in 1997 and a majority of whom have not returned but rather continued to live in six relief camps in Tripura, would have to vote within Mizoram from now on. The bandh was called off thereafter.
In remote Mizoram, at least 200 of the 1025 polling stations are either inaccessible by road, without electricity or void of cellphone connectivity. This was a major factor in the actual final turnout figure being unavailable on the same day as poll day, said poll officials, who added it will be certain by late Friday night or on Saturday when all polling parties reach designated rendezvous points.