[dropcap]V[/dropcap]oting is underway in Mizoram and Madhya Pradesh today. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is aiming to acquire stronghold of the northeastern state — from the Congress which has been ruling the Mizoram — as the state goes to polls for the eighth time since its formation in 1987.
Polling in the 40-member legislative assembly in Mizoram will decide the fate of 209 candidates. Although BJP has never won an assembly election in the hill state, this time the party is contesting in 39 seats.
The state with a population of about 10 lakh, has nearly 768,181 voters, including 393,685 women.
About 12,026 Brus (Reangs), who have been staying at six relief camps in Tripura for the last 21 years, will be able to vote in Mamit district’s Kanhmun village, where 15 temporary polling stations have been set up, as per Chief Electoral Officer Ashish Kundra.
“Little over 73% of the 7,68,181 voters cast their votes by the end of schedule balloting hour at 4 p.m. However, the percentage might go up to 77-78 per cent as a large number of voters are still in queues at many polling stations in different parts of the state,” Chief Electoral Officer Ashish Kundra told PTI.
“Conducive situation and favourable climate helped the electorate exercise their franchise smoothly,” Kundra said, adding that around 25 EVMs (Electronic Voting Machines) and VVPAT (Voters Verifiable Paper Audit Trail) devices malfunctioned, but no untoward incident has been reported so far.
Check out the live updates:
5.30pm: The state saw a healthy voter turnout with about 75% voting recorded till 5 pm.
5.00pm: Chief Electoral Officer Ashish told reporters that the highest turnout of 81% was reported at Serchhip seat, where CM Lal Thanhawla is one of the contestants.
4.00pm: All booths in the state were covered via wireless communication for the first time in the state’s polling history to ensure timely reporting of every development and progress of polling.
3:00 pm: 58% voter turnout recorded till 3 pm in Mizoram, said Office of Chief Electoral Officer.
Officials who faced action after being found drunk on poll duty include James RT Khuma, an Associate Professor at Government J Buana College, who was the presiding officer at a polling station in Lunglei South assembly seat. “He was found to be intoxicated in the DC office premises, was behaving in an extremely unruly manner and attempted to physically assault a senior officer in the presence of others,” Lunglei Deputy Commissioner-cum-District Returning Officer Ankita Chakravarty said in an order.
Three polling officials, including two presiding officers, in Lunglei district were removed from their duties after they were allegedly found in an inebriated state, attempting to assault other officials.
2:30 pm: Age no bar: A 108-year-old man after casting his vote in Mizoram’s Zemabawk PS-I
Mizoram’s Kawrthah district witnessed a 106-year-old woman casting her vote on Wednesday afternoon.
12:30 pm: Report on Vehicle Movement and Voters From Camps
11:30 am: In order to safeguard the interest of the Bru community, special polling arrangements have been made across the state. Food and transport facilities are also being provided to those coming to cast votes.
11:00 am: 29% voter turnout reported till 11am. 96-year-old casting ballot in Kolasib, Mizoram
Bru voters queue up at a field in Kanhmun village to cast their votes. They have been provided with transport facility to travel to Mizoram to vote. They will exercise their franchise at Kanhmun village along the Tripura-Mizoram border in Mamit district.
Borders with neighbouring countries Myanmar and Bangladesh and states Tripura, Assam and Manipur have been sealed since Sunday in view of the polls in Mizoram.
9.40am: Only 15% voting recorded till 9am
9.00 am: Prime Minister Narendra Modi has appealed voters to turnout in large numbers. “I request my sisters and brothers of Mizoram, particularly the dynamic youth of the state, to turnout in large numbers and vote,” he tweeted. In all 768,181 voters, including 393,685 women, are casting their vote in Mizoram.
8.50am: About 770,000 voters will decide the fate of 209 candidates, of whom 18 are women. The state had recorded 83.41% polling in 2013. Five years ago, the figure stood at 80% and in 2008 the state had witnessed 78.65% polling.
8.40am: The Congress party is eyeing a third consecutive term in the state. In the previous election in 2013, Congress fielded 40 candidates and won 34 seats. Mizo National Front (MNF) secured only five seats after contesting 31 seats, while Mizoram People’s Conference (MPC) had contested on eight seats but it managed to bag only one.
7.45am: Bru refugees come to Mizoram from their camps in Tripura to vote in the Mizoram assembly elections today. Over 12,000 Brus are living in six relief camps in Tripura. They will vote at Kanhmun village in Mamit district, where 15 temporary polling stations have been set up.
7.15am: Five-time chief minister Lal Thanhawla is contesting from two seats — Serchhip and Champhai South. In Serchhip, Thanhawla will be contesting against Zoram People’s Movement’s (ZPM) chief ministerial candidate Lalduhoma, MNF’s C Lalramzauva and People’s Representation for Identity and Status of Mizoram (PRISM) party chief Vanlalruata among others. In Champhai South, he will contest MNF’s TJ Lalnuntluanga and ZPM’s C Lalremliana.
7.00 am: Voting for 40 constituencies in Mizoram begins. Polling to conclude at 4 pm.