Guwahati: With 80% polling recorded in the just concluded Assembly election in the north eastern state of Mizoram, something close to last Assembly elections which recorded a 82% polling, has provided some hope to the ruling Congress, given the belief of poll watchers that the ruling party tends to retain power in the northeastern state whenever there is little change in voter turnout.
The fate of 209 candidates who contested the election will be decided when the votes are counted on December 11. This election is seen as a prestige issue for the ruling Congress, as Mizoram is currently the only state ruled by the Congress in the northeast and it is imperative for the party to retain it for the third consecutive term. While the main opposition the Mizo National Front (MNF) who has managed just 5 seats out of the 40 is equally optimistic about coming back to power after 10 years, the BJP hopes to not only open its account in the state but also turn kingmaker for a non-Congress government in the event of a hung assembly.
Also in the fray is the Zoram People’s Movement, an alliance of six regional parties that is seen by many as the dark horse in the polls.
Expressing his confidence Mizoram Chief Minister Lal Thanhawla said, that his party would storm back to power with a “full majority”. He contested from two seats, Serchhip and Champhai South, this year.
While the Congress and MNF contested on all 40 seats, the BJP fielded candidates from 39.
A significant factor that may influence the election is 12,000 voters from the Bru community who turned up to cast their votes at special polling stations set up on the Tripura-Mizoram border. They had migrated to the neighbouring state after ethnic clashes broke out with Mizo tribes in 1997.
In 2013, the Congress won 34 seats while the MNF managed five. Another party, the Mizoram People’s Conference, contested from eight seats but bagged just one.