Mizoram’s main opposition party, Zoram People’s Movement (ZPM) has tied-up with opposition Congress in at least 35 village councils in the run-up to the rural and local body polls, a Congress leader said on Sunday.

Polling for 558 village councils in 9 districts and 83 local councils within Aizawl municipal area will be held on August 27.

The Congress leader said that the alliance was locally based and not made at the party headquarters level.

He said that each unit or village council was given free hand to be tied up with any party according to its convenience.

“Even though the Congress is worthless in the eyes of ZPM leaders at general headquarters, the party leaders and workers at the local level are enthusiastic to work with Congress and we can’t sternly reject such offers,” the Congress leader, who chose to anonymous, said.

Meanwhile, ruling Mizo National Front (MNF) vice president Lalthlengliana launched a heating attack on ZPM for allegedly backtracking from its earlier promise.

Quoting ZPM secretary-general K. Sapdanga, the MNF leader said that the opposition had earlier sworn to fight the coming village council and local council polls alone.

“Soon after the last Lok Sabha polls in April last year, ZPM president Lalliansawta had said that one of the blunders committed by its party was its “alliance” with Congress in the Lok Sabha polls,” Lalthlenglian said.

He also said that the ZPM, which claimed to have received strong public support, has not only tied up with Congress in 35 village councils but failed to contest in 16 village councils.

Congress spokesperson Dr.Lallianchhunga accused the ruling MNF of misusing state’s flagship programme- Socio-Economic Development Policy (SEDP) to woo voters.

No MNF leaders could be contacted on the allegations.

Campaign for the upcoming village and local council polls is gaining momentum amidst the spread of coronavirus.

There are 2,454 seats in village councils, of which 630 are reserved for women while the total number of seats in local councils is 545, including 148 seats reserved for women.

Counting of votes will be undertaken on August 27  as soon as polling is over.

According to state election commission secretary Teresy Vanlalhruaii, a total of 8,491 candidates, including 2,102 women, are in the fray for both the polls.

She said that 6,926 candidates, including  1,685 women are in the fray for village councils polls while a total of 1,565 candidates, including 415 women (for reserved seats) are up for the local council polls.

The ruling MNF has fielded 2,438 candidates for the 558 village councils while main opposition Zoram People’s Movement (ZPM) fielded 1,197 candidates.

Congress has fielded 2,075 candidates, BJP- 298, Hmar People’s Convention (HPC) – 6, Mizoram People’s Conference (MPC) and National People’s Party (NPP) have fielded 2 candidates each, she said.

There are 908 independent candidates for the upcoming rural polls, she said.

As for local council polls, Vanlalhruaii said MNF has the highest number of candidates at 540, followed by Congress at 533.

ZPM has fielded 432, MPC – 5 and there are 55 independent candidates up for the coming local body polls, she said.

BJP and HPC have not fielded any candidate in the local council polls.

Teresy told NewsfileOnline that the MNF and Congress have already won 10 and 2 village councils unopposed respectively.

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