Over 73 percent of the 7.68 lakh Mizoram voters had their franchise on Wednesday to elect their representatives from the 40 Legislative Assembly Constituencies (LACs) in Mizoram to the 7th Assembly of the state.
The polling percentage was much higher at 83.41 percent in the last Assembly election held in 2013 compared to the election this year in Mizoram.
The polling percentage is likely to go up as information about poling from some very interior polling booth were yet to be received in the state control room at Aizawl.
Votes will be counted in Mizoram on December 11 along with four other poll-bound states -- Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Telangana and Chhattisgarh.
Long queues of colorfully dressed motley crowd were seen outside many polling booths in all the eight districts well before the voting began at 7 a.m. The polling remained by and large peaceful throughout the state where Church-backed Mizoram People’s Forum (MPF) volunteers worked tirelessly to help voters exercise their franchise.
"Conducive situation and favourable climate helped the electorate to exercise their franchise smoothly," a poll official said. Though some of the EVMs (Electronic Voting Machines) and VVPAT (Voters Verifiable Paper Audit Trail) devices malfunctioned no untoward incident was reported in the state during the polling.
Several voters aged above 100 cast their votes with the help of their family members at different polling stations. The nine-hour long polling would draw to a close at 4 p.m.
Bordered with Myanmar (510 km) and Bangladesh (318 km), the mountainous Mizoram is the Congress' last bastion among the eight Northeastern states.
The ruling Congress led by incumbent Chief Minister and state party chief 80-year-old Lal Thanhawla who is contesting from Serchip and Champhai South LACS, is fighting its arch-rival Mizo National Front (MNF) for a third consecutive term in power. The Congress has been in power in the state since 2008.
The MNF headed by former Chief Minister Zoramthanga, has exuded confidence to defeat Congress in this election and win power in a comfortable way.
Both the Congress and MNF have fielded candidates in all the 40 Assembly constituencies while the BJP, a new entrant in Mizoram state politics, has fielded 39 candidate including 6 women.
The Congress has been in power in Mizoram, except for 10 years, since Mizoram became a full-fledged state in 1987. The regional MNF ruled during those 10 years -- 1998-2003 and 2003-2008.
Many regional parties, including Meghalaya's ruling National People's Party (NPP), have fielded candidates for most of the 40 seats.
Women voters have outnumbered the men in Mizoram. There are 3,93,685 women voters against 3,74,496 men and they will decide the fate of 209 candidates. Total 15 women candidates are in the fray.
The Election Commission set up 15 special polling stations at Kanhmun, a village along the Mizoram-Tripura border in Mamit district of Mizoram , to facilitate voting by Bru tribal refugees sheltered in Tripura for the past 21 years.
The BSF (Border Security Force) and Assam Rifles were deployed to tighten the security along Mizoram's borders with Bangladesh and Myanmar.
Also Read: Mizoram News