Polling starts in Madhya Pradesh, Mizoram

Visuals from a polling station in Zarkawt, Aizawl. Polling for the 40 constituencies in the state will begin at 7 am. ANI photo

Around 29 per cent voter turnout was recorded in the first four hours of polling in Mizoram, while 21% cast vote in Madhya Pradesh for the assembly elections, the Chief Electoral Officers said Wednesday.

Polling to two state assemblies, Madhya Pradesh and Mizoram, was began at 7 am as BJP hope for a fourth consecutive term in MP and the Congress seek to retain Mizoram, one of the four states where it is in power.

Chief of Mizo National Front (MNF) and two time chief minister Zoramthanga, a resident of Ramhlun Venglei in Aizawl was among the early morning voters to have cast their franchise.

Election officials in Mizoram said a large number of Bru refugees from neighbouring Tripura have reached Kanhmun village in Mizoram's Mamit district to cast their votes. Over 12,000 Bru voters, who are languishing in relief camps in Tripura since an ethnic clash in 1997, will cast their votes in 15 polling stations set up for them in the village in South Mizoram. "Polling in Kahnmun began at 7 am and is expected to be over by 12.30pm," said the source.

As many as five crore voters are eligible to exercise their franchise in Madhya Pradesh where Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan is seeking fourth term in office while the Congress led by Kamal Nath and Jyotiraditya Scindia is hoping to return to power after a gap of 15 years.

Ironically, in Madhya Pradesh Chouhan's biggest success, which is a boost to agriculture sector, appears to be his biggest undoing with the farmers, who are angry with him for failing to provide adequate price for their crops.

What may not work in Shivraj's favour is the anger from youth, who are disillusioned over lack of employment opportunities, and traders, who are upset due to the noteban and GST decisions of the BJP government.

As many as 2,907 candidates are in the fray for the 230 Assembly seats in Madhya Pradesh.

The BJP has fielded candidates in all the 230 seats, while the Congress has fielded 229 candidates, leaving one seat, Jatara in Tikamgarh district, for its ally, Sharad Yadav's Loktantrik Janata Dal (LJD).

In regions contiguous to Uttar Pradesh, the Samajwadi Party and the Bahujan Samaj Party has queered the pitch for the BJP and the Congress.

A new entrant SAPAKS— an upper caste reaction to the pro-Scheduled Caste policies of the government— is also in the fray in 120 seats and supporting independent candidates in 40 other seats.

In Mizoram, a little over 7.68 lakh voters are eligible to exercise their franchise in the elections to the 40-member Assembly.

“All preparations are in place and we expect a very high turnout in a peaceful atmosphere,” Mizoram chief electoral officer, Ashish Kundra told DH from Aizawl.

A total of 1,164 polling stations has been set up for 7,68,181 voters of which nearly 55% are women.

In 2013 Assembly elections, Mizoram had witnessed a record 83.41 per cent polling, which was 74 per cent in 2008.

Elections in Mizoram has been a straight fight between Congress and MNF since it became a state in 1987.

But the political dynamics has been slightly different ahead of Assembly elections this time. 

BJP, which set its sight to make the Northeast 'Congress-mukt' by wresting power from Lal Thanhawla-led government, is contesting in 39 of the 40 seats. This led Congress make a charge that BJP and MNF are in 'a secret understanding' for a coalition government like it did in Christian-majority Meghalaya and Nagaland, earlier this year.

Congress at present has 34 seats and MNF five.

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Polling starts in Madhya Pradesh, Mizoram

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