Ahead of the Mizoram Assembly polls, the Chief Election Officer (CEO) of Mizoram has faced tough time with the Mizoram Chief Minister Lal Thanhawla writing a letter to Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh and Mizoram BJP president Prof JV Hluna dashing off another letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi against the CEO.
Already a number of NGOs have demanded removal of the CEO, SB Shashank.
The reactions of Thanhawla, who is also the president of the Mizoram Congress, and State BJP president Hluna came after the Election Commission of India transferred the Principal Secretary of Home Department on the basis of a report from the CEO alleging interference in the Mizoram Assembly polls.
Mizoram Chief Minister Thanhawla terming the CEO as ‘inexperienced and incompetent’ in his letter to Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh stated in his letter on Saturday that the “inept handling” of the election process by the CEO “prompted” ECI to take the drastic action of the transfer.
“Never have we seen such extreme action in Mizoram election history. The civil society does not take this lightly and we in government also fully supported their long standing demand that the Brus now living in Tripura Transit Camps should come and cast their votes inside Mizoram like every other Mizos do from outside the State at the time of elections. And that elaborate arrangements have been made both by the Centre and the State Governments need no further explanation,” Thanhawla stated.
He also stated that “some with vested interests in Tripura camps are only dissuading the people from coming back to Mizoram to press their unwarranted demand for an Autonomous District Council”.
He also requested Rajnath Singh’s intervention to restore status quo and make arrangements so that there should be “no threat whatsoever to the Brus for casting their votes in Mizoram”.
In his letter to Prime Minister Modi on Monday, State BJP chief Prof JV Hluna also expressed shock over the news of the transfer order of Principal Secretary, Home Department by the ECI following allegations made by the CEO.
In his letter, Hluna stated: “Contrary to the CEO’s allegations, the State administration has always been sensitive to the electoral rights of the Bru voters living in relief camps in Tripura. Mizoram, displaced Bru population has in previous elections been allowed to cast their votes from their respective camps- specifically during the 2013 Assembly elections, as well as in the following year, for the parliamentary elections.”
The State BJP chief further stated that Mizoram has had an exemplary record of peaceful elections and there is no evidence of past events that warrant the deployment of excessive security force personnel, over and beyond that which has been practiced in previous elections.
The Home department in the state administration appears to have been justified in seeking clarification from the CEO, if the proposed induction of the CAPF was in great disproportion to previous practices.
“No threats or proposed intervention to the process of the Brus exercising their franchise has been perceived to warrant any move for unprecedented increase in the deployment of security forces. In the light of such circumstances, the Mizo people have expressed their common and united stand in calling for the removal of the inept Chief Electoral Officer, whose actions have created a disruption, the likes of which have never before been seen in the period leading to the conduct of elections in the state,” he added.
Hluna expressed his solidarity with the people of Mizoram and requested the PM to do the needful to neutralise the situation in Mizoram.