-, Nov 07, 2023, IBNS
Aizawl/UNI: Over 17 percent of the voters exercised their franchise under fine sunny weather in the first two hours as Mizoram went to the hustings on Tuesday to elect a 40-member Assembly.
Large numbers of people lined up at their respective polling stations across the tiny North Eastern mountainous state since polling began at 7 a.m. to elect their representatives for the next five years.
Election officials said till 9 a.m. the polling percentage was 17.18.
They said voting started off smoothly, except in a few polling stations where EVMs experienced some technical snags.
Chief minister Zoramthanga, who went to cast his votes at his home polling station Ramhlun Venglai in the morning, could not do so due to an EVM snag.
Zoramthanga told polling officials he would come back later.
Mizoram Governor Hari Babu Kambhampati cast his vote at a polling booth in Aizawl South-II.
While polling began at 7 a.m., in many of the booths people had lined up prior to the scheduled time, in a bid to exercise their democratic rights in the early minutes. Polling will formally end at 4 p.m.
An electorate of 8,56,868, including 4,39,026 women, spread across 1,276 polling stations is eligible to choose representatives from a pool of 170 candidates in Indias second least populated and fifth smallest state.
The ruling Mizo National Front (MNF), the Zoram Peoples Movement (ZPM) and the Congress are contesting all the assembly seats while the BJP is in fray in 23 seats and the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) nominees are fighting in four seats. There are 27 independent aspirants.
Four of the candidates are contesting from two assembly seats each.
A multi-layered security blanket has been thrown in alongside high-tech measures to ensure free, fair and peaceful polls.
Besides 3,000 odd state police personnel, 450 sections of central armed police forces (CAPF) have been deployed to prevent any breach of peace. There are 21 general observers, 14 expenditure observers and 11 police observers to oversee the polling process.
There are 29 vulnerable polling stations and one critical polling station, mainly along the international and international border areas across the state.
Webcasting is being done in 769 (60 per cent) of the polling stations, Election Commission sources said.
In the 2018 polls, the MNF had wrested power from the Congress by winning 26 seats, while the ZPM emerged as the principal opposition party with eight seats. The Congress got five seats, and the BJP one.