GUWAHATI: Despite the Covid-19 pandemic, Mizoram held elections to village councils and local councils on Thursday but by maintaining the Covid-19 protocol, including social distancing.
Over 500 village councils and over 70 local councils went to the polls. The polling was held in Aizawl, Lunglei, Serchhip, Champhai, Mamit, Kolasib, Khawzawl, Hnahthial, and Saitual districts. The polling was not held in areas falling under the three autonomous district councils in Siaha and Lawngtlai districts of southern Mizoram.
According to the Mizoram State Election Commission, the polling passed off smoothly. Altogether 4,54,180 voters were eligible to cast votes in 558 village councils and 2,18,758 in 83 local councils under Aizawl Municipal Corporation. The state election commission had postponed the election in 24 local councils due to the pandemic.
A total of 8,491 candidates, including 2,102 women, were in the fray. The parties, which contested, included ruling Mizo National Front (MNF), Congress, BJP, Zoram People’s Movement, Mizoram People’s Conference, National People’s Party, and Hmar People Convention.
The term of the village councils had expired on May 7 and it was extended till September 7. Chief Minister Zoramthanga went out early to cast his vote.
“I participated in the #Mizoram General Election to Village Councils & Local Councils, 2020. Thanking all the election officials and every part-taker for providing a safe platform to many voters in exercising our constitutional franchise amidst this pandemic,” he tweeted.
Given the pandemic, some political parties had demanded the deferment of the polls. “We were not in favour of the election as we were concerned about the health of people but the MNF was desperate,” Congress spokesperson Lallianchhunga said.
So far, Mizoram recorded 974 Covid-19 positive cases -- nearly 40% of them were reported from paramilitary forces. There are now 501 active cases.
Earlier, Assam had deferred elections to the autonomous Bodoland Territorial Council. Similarly, the Tripura Tribal Areas Autonomous District Council elections in Tripura and the panchayat elections in Arunachal Pradesh were deferred due to the pandemic.