Around 15 per cent voter turnout was recorded in the first two hours of polling in 40 Assembly constituencies of Mizoram, Chief Electoral Officer Ashish Kundra said. The voting began at 7 am amid tight security and will continue till 4 pm, he said.
A total of 7,70,395 voters, including 3,94,897 women, would decide the fate of 209 candidates, including Chief Minister Lal Thanhawla, who is contesting from two seats Serchhip and Champai South. While Thanhawla is seeking a third consecutive term in the state, the BJP, which failed to open its account in 2013 elections, is looking to uproot the Congress in its last bastion in the northeast.
Long queues of enthusiastic voters were seen outside many polling stations early in the day. Former chief minister and opposition Mizo National Front (MNF) chief Zoramthanga was among the first ones to exercise franchise at 7 am. Zoramthanga cast his vote at Ramhlun polling booth in Aizawl North-II constituency.
Bru voters from six relief camps in North Tripura district arrived at Kanhmun village, along the Mizoram-Tripura border, where 15 temporary polling stations have been erected.The voters had to walk around 500 metres from the inter-state border to reach the polling stations, where members of local civil societies welcomed them with pork curry.
Forty-seven of the 1,179 polling booths have been classified as “critical” and as many as “vulnerable” by the Election Commission. Election office sources said 40 companies of Central Armed Police Forces, in addition to the state police, have been deployed to ensure free and fair polls.
Each constituency has a polling booth, named after a pink flower ”Dingdi”, exclusively for women voters. These booths have women polling officials and security personnel. While the ruling Congress and the main opposition MNF are contesting all 40 seats, the BJP has fielded candidates in 39 constituencies.
Zoram People’s Movement (ZPM), a conglomerate of two political parties the Zoram Nationalist Party (ZNP) and Mizoram People’s Conference (MPC) and five other groups, are in the fray for 35 seats.