Rural poll candidates in at least four Mizoram villages have withdrawn their nominations, taking to 30 the number of villages where no one has dared to contest the upcoming polls after receiving threats from a Manipur-based militant group.
Former Chief Minister and Mizo National Front party president Zoramthanga has meanwhile demanded Home Minister R Lalzirliana’s resignation saying the Congress vice-president has failed to uphold the basic pillar of democracy — elections.
A communique issued by the Kolasib district administration on Friday pointed out candidates in three villages have withdrawn their nominations after receiving threats not to contest. An official in Aizawl district meanwhile said candidates in one village have also withdrawn their nominations under similar circumstances.
No one had filed nominations in at least 24 villages in Aizawl district and two in Kolasib district by the deadline, which was 3 pm this past Monday.
Police sources say the Hmar People’s Convention Democrats (HPCD) militant group has been asking village leaders not to contest the upcoming polls in a region they demand should be part of a tribal autonomous district for the Hmar tribe.
The State Election Commission has given no clear indication of what it plans to do, but it is expected the villages where no candidates are contesting would be without local elected bodies until by-elections can be held.
Zoramthanga said during a political session at Hnam Run, the party’s headquarters, that “it has never happened even in the worst insurgency years of Mizoram that elections could not be conducted. This is a failure of the Congress government.”