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ZPM to Contest Maiden Lok Sabha Battle in Mizoram

ZPM
Photo Credit : IANS

Five months after its victory in the November 2023 Mizoram Assembly polls, the Zoram People’s Movement (ZPM) will fight its first-ever Parliamentary election as the state’s lone constituency votes in the first phase of Lok Sabha elections on April 19.

Formed just before the 2018 Assembly polls, the ZPM, led by Chief Minister Lalduhoma, a former IPS officer who was the security officer of late Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, came to power for the first time in Christian-dominated Mizoram, securing 27 seats in the 40-member Assembly in the November 7, 2023 polls.

The ZPM, which gave a humiliating defeat to the militant outfit-turned-political party — the Mizo National Front (MNF), which secured only 10 seats, will once again take on the MNF in the parliamentary polls besides the Congress.

Both the Congress and the MNF had governed Mizoram for many years since it became the 23rd state of India on February 20, 1987.

Chief Minister Lalduhoma, who has been an MP from the state, had, before and after the 2023 Assembly polls, announced that his ZPM would neither ally with the Congress-led INDIA bloc nor the BJP-led NDA. Like the MNF, the ZPM also strongly opposes the Citizenship (Amendment) Act and the Uniform Civil Code and promises to take up issues concerning the Mizo tradition, culture, and ethnicity.

Mizoram’s solitary Lok Sabha seat is reserved for the Schedule Tribe community, which comprises around 95 per cent of the state’s 1.2 million population.

Mizoram Chief Electoral Officer Madhup Vyas said that for the past few decades, female voters in Mizoram outnumbered their male counterparts, thus playing a vital role in each electoral battle in the mountainous state.

He said that of the total electorate of 8,61,277 in Mizoram, 4,14,777 are male voters, 4,41,520 female electors and 4,980 service voters. According to Vyas, the gender ratio is 1,064 in Mizoram and of its 11 districts, Mamit is the only one with more male voters than females.

As per the final electoral rolls, published on February 8 this year, there are 36,214 young voters (18-19 years old), 4,758 senior citizen voters (85 years and above) and 3,399 PwD (Persons with Disability) voters.

There are 1,276 polling stations in Mizoram, or 101 more than that in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. This election will be eco-friendly, and the Election Commission has advised parties and candidates to refrain from using single-use plastic.

Election officials said that over 3,000 state police personnel and 15 companies (around 1,000 personnel) of the Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF) will be deployed to maintain law and order situation, though Mizoram is one of the very states where election-related violence and incidents are always almost zero.

Multiple teams have been assigned to monitor election expenditures, and there are serious efforts to curb the menace of drugs, alcohol and other harmful substances.

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