AIZAWL: In Mizoram, a collective outcry from political parties, NGOs, and churches has arisen over the Election Commission's decision to hold vote counting on Sunday, December 3. The NGO Coordination Committee (NGOCC), representing influential bodies and major Christian organizations, is spearheading protests to urge a change in the counting date.
Despite a meeting between a delegation from NGOCC and the Election Commission in New Delhi, where they formally requested rescheduling the counting, the Commission remains steadfast in its decision. The committee subsequently announced a protest rally scheduled for Friday at 11 a.m., emphasizing the need to safeguard Sunday, considered a sacred day for Christians in Mizoram.
The All Mizoram Churches Coordination Committee, in solidarity with the NGOCC, has urged Mizos and political parties to refrain from gatherings on December 3, except for church services, if the Election Commission persists with its decision.
NGOCC Chairman Lalhmachhuana led a five-member delegation to Delhi, presenting a final attempt to convince the Election Commission to reconsider. This move followed the state Chief Electoral Officer's meeting with the Election Commission, during which the request for rescheduling was reportedly declined.
The Election Commission has already initiated the vote counting process, deploying over 4,000 personnel across 13 counting centers in the state. Despite the widespread appeal for a change in the date, the Commission argues that the counting process does not involve the general public, unlike polling.
Since the announcement of the election schedule in October, Mizoram's political landscape, comprising both ruling and opposition parties, alongside church bodies and NGOs, has consistently pressed for a revision of the counting date.
To ensure the security of the counting process, Director General of Police Anil Shukla has confirmed the deployment of Central Armed Police Forces and Mizoram Armed Police. Strong rooms in all 11 district headquarters securely house the Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) ahead of the counting.
In this tense atmosphere, Mizoram stands divided between the Election Commission's adherence to the announced date and the collective plea from various segments of society to respect the sanctity of Sunday. As the protest rally looms, the state anticipates a resolution that balances democratic processes with cultural and religious sensitivities.