Mizoram’s normally high voter turnout and peaceful polls saw a repeat as the state went to polls on Monday,with people queuing up at polling stations even before they opened at 7 am and the turnout already touching 81.19 percent by the end of polling even as data from 90 remote polling stations had not yet filtered in by the time of filing this report.
This marks the highest turn-out on record as far as voting by EVMs is concerned,the previous record being 80 percent in 2008.
This year’s postal ballots turn-out,open till December 8,still remains to be added to the present count. Joint CEO H Lalengmawia said looking at past records of postal ballots at least two percentage points may be added to the final turnout.
Hlumte polling station in Lunglei East constituency and Taitowkawn in Lengteng constituency registered 100% turnout.
Two centenarians,104-year-old Kimchawngi of North-East Khawdungsei and 103-year-old Lianengi of Baktawng Tlangnuam,voted in the elections to determine Mizoram state’s seventh legislative assembly.
There were no incidences of violence in spite of some alleged militant activity in the northern regions where some armed groups from Manipur are active,and turn-out in the three seats there stood at around 82 percent overall,according to CEO Ashwani Kumar.
All the four main parties’ presidents except the Mizo National Front’s Zoramthanga,who was in his East Tuipui seat near the Indo-Myanmar border on poll day,voted in their home constituencies in Aizawl.
While ZNP president Lalduhoma and MPC president Lalhmangaiha Sailo voted almost as soon as the polling stations opened,CM Lal Thanhawla cast his vote around 9.45 am.
The incumbent said he expected a “thumping majority” for his Congress party,which currently holds 32 of 40 seats in the state assembly.
The election process was said to be smooth overall,apart from small hiccups in some polling stations – one polling station’s presiding officer reportedly hit the end button by mistake when only a few score voters had cast their votes but quickly compensated by using a spare EVM,another mistakenly did not reset the EVM after the mock-polls and commenced normal voting but will minus the votes cast in the mock.
While several VVPAT machines,used for the first time in a general election in 10 constituencies within Aizawl district,were replaced almost immediately as they were found unfit soon after the polls began while at least half-a-dozen EVMs were reportedly replaced for the same reasons. Polling was not hampered,however.
The powerful Church-led election watchdog Mizoram People Forum regulated polling in most places and supplemented officials who were on duty by banning respective parties’ counters near polling stations and instead took the onus of handing out voter slips to those who may have misplaced them,and overall educating voters about how to cast their votes in the EVMs.