Business Standard

Door-to-door campaigning gains momentum in Mizoram for assembly elections

The MPF leaders were also chairing public meetings addressed by the contestants, MPCC leader said

Press Trust of India  |  Aizawl 

Mizoram assembly elections
Representative image of VVPAT machines

Electioneering has gained momentum in Mizoram for the upcoming assembly polls with candidates trying to woo voters under the supervision of a church-backed election watchdog.

Elections to the 40-member Mizoram Assembly will be held on November 28.

Mizoram is the only northeastern state where the is in power and the is keen on making inroads in the Christian-dominated state.

Mizoram Pradesh Committee (MPCC) leader Lalhruaitluanga Kawlni said that public meetings and door-to-door canvassing were being organised in villages under the close supervision of the local forums of the Mizoram People's Forum (MPF), the church-sponsored election watchdog.

The standard mode of campaigning in the assembly elections in 2008 and 2013 was a common platform with all candidates of a constituency sharing a stage.

However, this time, the MPF has relaxed the guideline and skipped the common platform.

After consulting representatives of political parties, the MPF has agreed to door-to-door campaigning by the candidates, an MPF leader said.

But the candidates have to be accompanied by MPF leaders of the local units during their house-to-house campaigning to ensure that they do not use money power, the MPCC leader said.

The MPF leaders were also chairing public meetings addressed by the contestants, the MPCC leader said.

"Election observers, especially personnel of the surveillance team, are also maintaining a strict vigil and checking vehicles," he said.

The display of flags of political parties and posters have also been minimised under the supervision of the flying squads and the MPF.

Bio-data of the candidates and their appeals to voters were collected by the MPF leaders and distributed to the members of each household besides publishing them in the house journals of the churches, he said.

Lallenmawia Jongte, the secretary of the opposition Mizo National Front (MNF), said that the front did not organise public meetings, except in some villages.

"We convened party block conferences and unit meetings where candidates and star campaigners or party leaders delivered speeches to persuade the voters to vote in their favour," Jongte said.

Door-to-door campaigns were being conducted in all the villages under the supervision of the MPF and the election watchdog was extremely particular about organising dinners, he said.

Community feasts have been prohibited by the MPF and any political party organising such feasts as part of their campaign was being condemned publicly, he said.

Election campaign offices have been opened in all the villages and more than one campaign office have been set up in larger villages and towns.

Supporters of contestants were found visiting relatives in other villages for canvassing support for the nominees.

Campaigning has also come of age in the state with the use of social media like Facebook and Whatsapp.

With television and radio still being used by candidates and campaigners, social media is also being extensively used to woo younger voters.

On the major poll issues, the ruling was banking on its flagship programme - the New Land Use Policy (NLUP) - which brought the party to power for two consecutive terms.

The Congress also floated a new policy called New Economic Development Program (NEDP) as a convergence of the NLUP under which around Rs 100,000 each was disbursed to each beneficiary family.

The opposition MNF promised assistance to the tune of Rs 300,000 to each family under the Socio-Economic Development Policy (SEDP) and to close down liquor shops and impose prohibition again as wished by the powerful church.

The MNF is banking on a non-Congress government at the Centre for funding its development projects.

Zoram People's Movement (ZPM), the newly floated conglomerate of two political parties and five groups, which is contesting in 36 seats as a group of independents, promised crop insurance, purchase of the produces of the farmers and remunerative prices by earmarking fund in the annual budgets.

ZPM leaders said that marginal farmers would be helped to better themselves with what they described as a "hand-holding policy".

The main plank of People's Representation for Identity and Status of Mizoram (PRISM) was combatting corruption and creation of jobs by way of opening venues for entrepreneurs.

The in Mizoram, contesting in 39 seats, is riding on the development works of Prime Minister Narendra Modi while the National People's Party (NPP) is depending on its tribal and Christian centric image for the people of the northeast region.

First Published: Thu, November 15 2018. 17:05 IST