Mizoram’s main opposition party Zoram People’s Movement (ZPM) on Saturday accused the ruling Mizo National Front (MNF) government headed by chief minister Zoramthanga of dictating the state election commission for allegedly announcing elections to village councils and local council despite the Covid-19 spread.
Speaking to reporters at a press conference here, ZPM president Lalliansawta said that even though the state election commission is an autonomous body it is in fact controlled and dictated by the government.
He alleged that the election commission had announced election to village councils and local councils in a hasty manner on August 5 and simultaneously opened nomination papers on the same day giving only five days barring public holidays to candidates for filing the nomination papers.
“The announcement of election in a hasty manner by the election commission has revealed the secret motive of the ruling party that it is scared of losing the upcoming polls as people begin to realise the real picture of the present government,” he alleged.
He alleged that the announcement was made just a day after some minister distributed assistance under the state’s flagship programme Socio-Economic Development Policy (SEDP).
Lalliansawta blamed the conduct of local polls at a time of pandemic when self imposed complete lockdowns were observed in many villages.
He said that many villages in the eastern part of the state are also facing hardship due to earthquakes.
He alleged that many candidates were forced to file nomination papers under duress by MNF workers for they were scared that their relatives will lose their government jobs.
The ZPM president also said that each candidate was asked to submit a party registration certificate along with the nomination papers.
He said that it is not convenient to send party registration certificates to far flung villages due to lack of transportation in such a pandemic period and tight schedule.
Meanwhile, opposition Congress has accused MNF workers of intimidating the people in view of the upcoming village and local council’s polls.
Congress media department chairman and spokesperson Dr. Lallianchhunga told reporters that the ruling party workers have intimidated people that only those villages and local councils that voted the MNF to power, will receive development funds and other privileges.
He said that the 15th finance commission has allocated Rs 93 crore as rural local body grant to Mizoram for the fiscal 2020-21, which would be equally divided among village councils irrespective of party affiliations or whether they are on opposition or ruling side.
Election commission officials refused to comment on the allegations.
Elections to 558 village councils in nine districts state barring 3 Autonomous District Council (ADC) areas and 83 local councils in Aizawl Municipal area are due on August 27.
The last date for filing nomination papers was fixed on August 11 while the last date for withdrawal of candidature was fixed on 13 August.
Counting of votes would be undertaken on August 27 as soon as polling is over.