On November 28, 2018, the people of Mizoram voted to elect 40 representatives to the Legislative Assembly from 209 contesting candidates. The results will be declared on December 11. The colourful northeastern state takes its democracy seriously, and over 80% turned out to exercise their franchise.
The Lal Thanhawla-led Indian National Congress is in power for two consecutive terms from 2008 and faces a strong challenge from an old rival and former two-time CM Zoramthanga of the Mizo National Front (MNF). Towards continuing its efforts at becoming a significant player in Mizo politics, the BJP has fielded candidates for 39 seats.
The Exit Poll of Polls predicts a comeback by the Zoramthanga-led MNF but expect the fight to be a close one, so close; there is a possibility of a hung parliament if neither INC nor MNF manages a clear majority.
Total Seats: 40
The diverse outcomes of individual Exit Polls are:
|Times Now – CNX||16||18||6|
|Republic TV – Cvoter||14-18||16-20||3-10|
|Maps of India||16||16||8|
In 2008, the INC unseated Zoramthanga’s MNF winning 32 out of 40 seats. The MNF managed just 3 seats. In 2013, INC improved their tally even further, winning 34 of 40 seats. MNF won 5 seats. However, in 2018, anti-incumbency seems to have caught up with the Lal Thanhawla-led INC and potentially giving Zoramthanga another shot at sitting on the big chair.
So, what could upset the calculations of either party? The 11,987 Bru voters who live in refugee camps in Tripura. The Reang community, also known as ‘Bru’ is a Scheduled Tribal community of Tripura with members spread across the northeast, including Mizoram.
In 1997, ethnic violence forced over 30,000 Bru community members to flee Mizoram and seek shelter in Tripura. Recently, 30,000 Bru were granted voting rights, of which 11,987 are registered voters in Mizoram. These voters have cast their vote and could swing the poll outcome either way for the INC and MNF.
Despite being recognized as one of the fastest growing states in the country with the second highest literacy rate, Mizoram suffers from lack of investment in infrastructure and creation of new job opportunities. Additionally, the state is reeling under an extensive alcohol problem. Prohibition is a sensitive poll issue with almost all parties taking up positions in support or against a total ban. Parties like the MNF and ZPM have promised to withdraw ‘The Mizoram Liquor (Prohibition and Control) – MLPC Act of 2014’ if voted to power. The Act allowed liquor shops and bars to operate in the state.
December 11 will reveal which way the people have voted.
Exit Polls of the other states