Aizawl: The counting of votes for the 40-member Mizoram assembly began at 8.00 am on Tuesday, amid elaborate security arrangements, election department officials said here. The counting is going on in 13 counting centres in the eight district headquarters of the state, they added.
Postal ballots cast by government employees deployed on election duty and votes cast by service voters, who exercised their franchise from outside the state through electronic transmitted postal ballots (ETPB), would be counted first. After this, the votes cast in EVMs would be counted, the officials said. The election was held on November 28 and its result will decide whether Chief Minister Lal Thanhawla of Congress will be able to return for a third consecutive term in office. Mizoram is the last bastion of the Congress in the northeast.
In the 2013 elections, the Congress had won 34 seats, while its main opposition the Mizo National Front (MNF) got five seats and the Mizoram People’s Conference bagged one seat. The Congress and the MNF have ruled Mizoram since 1987. The BJP has set its eyes on the state this time. All other northeastern states are now ruled either by the saffron party or others supported by it. No party in the state has so far been able to form government thrice in a row since 1987 when Mizoram became a full-fledged state. The Congress and the MNF fielded 40 candidates each while the BJP contested in 39 seats. The Zoram Peoples Movement (ZPM), an alliance formed by two political parties and four groups, contested in 35 seats.