AIZAWL: Various political parties, including the ruling party in Mizoram, Mizo National Front (MNF), have released the names of candidates for the upcoming election to Mara Autonomous District Council (MADC) slated for May 5.

The MNF, Congress and BJP have fielded all the 25 seats, while the main opposition Zoram People’s Movement (ZPM), which is contesting for the first time, has named 8 candidates for the council polls.

While the MNF announced the names of party candidates on Tuesday, Congress, ZPM and BJP released the names of their contenders on Wednesday.

The BJP is currently in power in the MADC.

State BJP president Vanlalhmuaka, who released the party candidates’ names at a function on Wednesday, said that the Saffron party will retain power in the Mara council.

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He said that the BJP is expecting to win 15 to 17 seats in the upcoming polls.

Announcing the names of the party candidates, ZPM working president K. Sapdanga on Wednesday said the party is contesting the MADC polls for the first time and have fielded 8 candidates. 

“It is great that the ZPM is contesting 8 seats in its debut. We are happy for we have seen progress within the party,” Sapdanga said.

He said that the party would respect the constitution of India and the memorandum of understanding (MoU) signed with Mizoram People’s Forum (MPF), a church backed poll watchdog, to ensure a free and fair election.

Polling for the 25-member MADC would be held on May 5.

The counting of votes would be conducted on May 9.

The last date for filing nomination papers ended on Wednesday, while the last date for withdrawal of candidature was fixed on April 18.

There are 25 constituencies and 81 polling stations in MADC.

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According to the final roll published on March 29, a total of 42,326 electorates, including 21,960 female voters, will exercise their franchise in the upcoming polls.

MADC was constituted in 1972 for the Mara people living in Mizoram’s deputy.

It is headquartered in Siaha in the southern part of the state.

The council has 25 elected and 3 nominated members.

In the last council poll held in May 2017, Congress had won a simple majority by securing 17 seats, while the MNF and Mara Democratic Front (MDF) combine won 7 and one Independent candidate had also been declared elected. 

Later, the MDF members joined BJP when the ethnic-based party merged with the saffron party.

The council came under BJP in June 2019 when all Congress members defected to the saffron party and it is now headed by N Zakhai as Chief Executive Member (CEM).

The BJP now has 17 members in the 25- member council, MNF (6) and Congress (2).

The council witnessed frequent defection due to the absence of anti-defection law. 

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