A hectic campaign for the bypoll to Tuirial Assembly seat in north Mizoram ended on Wednesday at 6 pm with all contesting parties organising functions to close their high-pitch campaigning.
The bypoll to Tuirial seat in Kolasib district was necessitated due to the demise of the incumbent Zoram People’s Movement (ZPM) MLA.
The bypoll will be held on October 30 simultaneously with three parliamentary seats and 29 other Assembly constituencies in various states.
Polling with be held from 7 am to 6 pm, according to election officials
State Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) P. Jawahar said at least one company of central paramilitary forces will be deployed besides state armed and unarmed forces.
According to District Election Officer Dr. H. Lalthlangliana, the poll preparedness is more or less completed.
The last round of training for polling officials will be held on Thursday, he said.
The official said there are 27 polling stations and polling parties will be dispatched to their respective polling stations on October 29.
A total of 17,911 electorates, including 9,092, will exercise their franchise in the upcoming bypoll to decide the fate of 4 candidates, he said.
He said that 32 ballot papers have been already received by the election department while 134 service votes, which were already dispatched, are yet to be received.
He said that counting of votes will be held at Government Kolasib College on November 2 from 8 am.
According to Lalthlangliana, one complaint each has been filed against Mizo National Front (MNF), Congress and ZPM by Mizoram People’s Forum (MPF), a church backed poll watchdog in the state.
He said that show-cause notices have been served to all the parties and all of them have replied to it.
Earlier on Tuesday, Jawahar said at least 663 Bru voters from Tripura transit camp are still enrolled among 17,911 voters in Tuirial Assembly constituency.
He had said that there is no plan, as of now, to make special arrangement or set up special polling booths for the Bru voters and only standard arrangements are being made so far.
He had also added that the Bru voters need to come on their own expenses and cast their votes in their respective polling stations- Zodin and Hortoki in the upcoming bypoll.
In the past elections, the Bru voters used to exercise their franchise through postal ballots in relief camps.
It was since 2018 Assembly polls that exclusive polling stations were set up at Kanhmun village on the Mizoram-Tripura border for the Brus.
Around 52% of over 12,000 Bru voters cast their votes at Kanhmun in 2018 assembly polls and 33.54% in the Lok Sabha poll held in 2019.
Thousands of Brus in Mizoram had fled to neighbouring Tripura due to ethnic tension triggered by the murder of a Mizo forest guard by the erstwhile Bru militants in 1997.
Since then, they have been lodging at six relief camps in Tripura.
According to the agreement signed in January last year, the Bru people, who failed to return to Mizoram during repatriations, were allowed to permanently re-settle in Tripura.
Nearly 12,000 Bru voters are sill enrolled in Mizoram electoral roll as their re-settlement in Tripura is under process, according to election officials.
Political parties and major NGOs in the state have been demanding that names of the Bru voters, who were already permitted to re-settle in Tripura, should be removed from the state voter list.
Meanwhile, Mizoram’s apex student body Mizo Zirlai Pawl (MZP) has urged all political parties not to facilitate special arrangement or provide assistance to the Bru voters in Tripura to enable them to exercise their franchise in the coming bypoll following the allegation that some political parties are trying to assist the Bru voters.
A statement issued by the student body on Wednesday warned that it would take necessary action against those political parties, which failed to respect its appeal.
The organisation president B. Vanlaltana said that the student body has no objection to the Bru voters to cast their votes if they come to their respective polling stations in Mizoram at their own expenses.
The ruling MNF has fielded K. Laldawngliana to be up against ZPM candidate Laltlangmawi, Chalrosanga Ralte (Congress) and K. Laldinthara (BJP).
Although there are four candidates, the bypoll will be mainly a three-cornered contest among MNF, Congress and ZPM, according to political analysts.