There are promises that are made in a poll season and most of them remain promises, but in the election season of this small hill state, all major political parties say they are serious when it comes to liquor -- whether to ban it or not, and whether to ban it fully or partially.
Mizoram will vote on November 28 for 40 assembly seats to decide who will form the next government in this highly-literate and Christian-majority state.
The state has a total population of about 10 lakh people only, but elections here are being seen as very important for the Congress and and Mizoram National Party (MNF), who have ruled Mizoram ever since it it became a full-fledged state in 1987, as also for the BJP that sees it as the 'final frontier' in the North-East.
While the ruling Congress is against total prohibition, the main opposition MNF wants a complete ban. The BJP has taken a middle path by proposing to ban the liquor coming from outside the state and encourage only locally produced ones.
"It (liquor) is an epidemic, a big plague in Mizoram. We are going to solve the drug and alcohol problem by a total prohibition of liquor. We will fight totally against the drugs," MNF President and former Chief Minister Zoramthanga told PTI in an interview.
When the state Chief Minister Lal Thanhawla was in office for his third term, he introduced the Mizoram Liquor Total Prohibition Act banning sale and consumption of alcohol effective from February 20, 1997.
In 2007, the Act was amended during the MNF chief minister Zoramthanga's rule to allow wine to be made from guavas and grapes, but with restrictions on the alcohol content and the volume possessed.
During Thanhawla's fifth term, Mizoram repealed prohibition on July 10, 2014.
The powerful Presbyterian Church had organised mass prayers in all member churches across the state twice that year against repeal of the prohibition.
The MLPC Act came into force from January 15, 2015, while the first wine shop under the new law was opened on March 16, 2015.
Congress Spokesperson Lallian Chhunga said: "We had a socio-economic survey in September and it found that liquor is a minor issue. MNF wants to make it a big issue. But I don't know how far they have succeeded in it. I am not sure if they are really convinced to swing votes on their favour over the liquor issue."
"Youths do not like total prohibition. MNF and ZPM (Zoram People's Movement) are for total prohibition. Congress can gain from this," Aizawl-based journalist-turned-entrepreneur Joseph Lalhriatpuia said.
Restaurant owner Lalremruata said liquor is not an issue and parties talk about it only in elections.
Zoramthanga, however, claimed around 500 policemen and 6,500-7000 others have died at a young age since 2015 due to excessive drinking.
"It is a thing that matters most. It has become a headache of every parent, every wife. Not only the church, it is practically the headache of every family because they have a problem as liquor is not only easily available, but also of fourth-grade quality," he added.
According to the Mizoram Excise & Narcotics Department website, deaths due to liquor consumption have been on a rise from 9 in 2015 to 22 in 2016 and to 59 in 2017.
Mizoram BJP President J V Hluna said, "We will not import IMFL to Mizoram. Liquor consumption will not be banned, but locally produced liquor (will be allowed). We will legalise local products and export them too."
People's Representation for Identity and Status of Mizoram (PRISM), a new party contesting polls for the first time, said total prohibition is not a solution.
"We have had total prohibition two times in Mizoram. During the MNF insurgency, they prohibited liquor from the jungle. They killed so many local liquor vendors, but liquor was there. After that, the government's total prohibition came, but liquor was there. So, the issue is not prohibition," PRISM President Vanlalruata said.
Favouring control than prohibition, PRISM leader said people need to be made aware about ill affects of liquor and some changes can be made in the MLPC Act.
"Liquor is an election issue. Most of the church leaders and church activists are anti-liquor. But, most youths don't like prohibition," Vanlalruata said.
Zoramthanga, Hluna and Vanlalruata also pitched for home-made rice beer or locally produced liquor.
MNF leader and candidate from Aizawl East-II constituency Robert Romawia Royte said gains for the state government from allowing liquor is less than the loss it causes.
Stating that liquor consumption is against the Bible, Royte further said: "Men are dying in Mizoram. Number of widows is increasing. We have a peculiar situation, where male voters are less than the women voters."
Mizoram has total 7.68 lakh registered voters -- 3.74 lakh are men and 3.93 lakh are women.
Except Mamit district, rest all seven districts -- Kolasib, Aizawl, Champhai, Serchhip, Lunglei, Lawngtlai and Siaha -- have higher number of female voters.
The Congress has been in power in Mizoram since 2008 and is eyeing the third consecutive term. In 2013 Assembly elections, the Congress won 34 seats, while the MNF had five and Mizoram People's Conference bagged one.
While Congress and MNF are contesting in all the 40 constituencies this time, BJP is fighting in 39 seats and PRISM has put up candidates in 15 seats.