209 candidates to contest Mizoram Assembly polls

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Aizawl, Nov 15 (IANS) A total of 209 candidates, 67 higher than in 2013, are contesting the November 28 Mizoram Assembly polls, officials said here on Thursday.

According to the officials of Mizoram Election Department, of the 209 candidates, 15 are women.

In 2013, only six women contested the elections but none were successful.

“The Congress and the Mizo National Front (MNF) have fielded 40 candidates each, while the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has nominated 39 candidates,” Mizoram’s Joint Chief Electoral Officer Zorammuana told IANS.

In the 2013 assembly polls, 142 candidates contested for the 40 assembly seats in the Christian-dominated state.

The BJP, which has undertaken intensive efforts to oust the ruling Congress after having formed governments on its own or in alliance with allies in the six northeastern states, excluding Sikkim, had fielded 17 candidates in 2013 and secured only 0.37 per cent of the votes.

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Last time, the MNF, a regional party, which ruled the state for two terms (1998-2003, and 2003-2008), fielded candidates in 31 seats, and won five seats.

The MNF is a constituent of the BJP-led North East Democratic Alliance (NEDA).

Political experts predict that after the polls, the MNF might forge an alliance with the BJP to form the government.

Meanwhile, the ruling Congress, which has been in power except for ten years — 1998 to 2008 — since it became a full-fledged state in 1987, has suffered a major setback during the past two months with five of its leaders, including Home Minister R. Lalzirliana and Assembly speaker Hiphei, quitting the party and resigning from the house.

Besides Lalzirliana and Hiphei, three other sitting legislators, Lalrinliana Sailo, Buddha Dhan Chakma — both former ministers, and Hmingdailova Khiangte have also resigned from the party.

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While Lalzirliana and Sailo joined the opposition MNF, Hiphei and Chakma joined BJP, and Khiangte would contest the polls as an independent.

With these resignations, the Congress’ strength in the 40-member house has been reduced to 29.

Like the previous elections, women voters once again outnumber the men in Mizoram. Of the 768,181 voters, there are 393,685 women and 374,496 men.

–IANS

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