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Mizoram in Pursuit of Free and Fair Elections in 2013

October 28, 2013

The idea of vigorous, and sometimes desperate, campaigning by the political honchos prior to the election is not foreign to us. While some spew anti-opposition venom during demonstrations, others narrate the script that promises a sudden change of wind. The same rigmarole, however, is not to be seen in Mizoram. The state is a different story altogether. Despite the fact that the Mizoram polls are on November 25, the atmosphere is quite lukewarm, to say the least. Electioneering is happening in a discrete mode, with no chest-thumping promotional speeches at public meetings or intemperate remarks to malign characters.

Mizoram’s political parties have signed an MoU with the election watchdog Mizoram People Forum (MPF) to be the torchbearer of ‘Free and Fair’ elections. The MPF is an initiative of Synod, the largest Church body in Mizoram. As if the establishment of state watchdog is not a significant headway in itself, Mizoram has added enough teeth to this organization. For those who don’t know, MPF has created 27 well-thought-out rules for the political parties, including the Mizoram Pradesh Congress Committee (MPCC), with a macro purpose of preventing any form of poll-code violation.

A probing look into the canons of the MoU would reveal how prudently they encompass all aspects of poll campaigning. One of the rules forbids political parties from preparing an election manifesto which they can’t implement. The rules reflect one thing for sure: they were made in true spirit. After decades of listening to hollow claims and being at the receiving end of ineptness, the common people have turned sceptics.

The MPF’s prowess can be understood by the fact that it commands immense reverence among the political parties. Poll candidates are reportedly adhering to its directives, failing which the MPF can “invalid” their parties. Besides preventing candidates from setting up campaign offices by incurring huge expenses, the MPF has also prohibited certain activities which encourage unethical modus operandi. Saying no to door-to-door campaigning within 10 days of the election, is one of them. Even the ‘star campaigners’ of national political parties cannot address public meetings without the forum’s consent.

On a similar note, the corruption watchdog People’s Right to Information and Development Implementing Society of Mizoram (PRISM) has started a fact-finding mission in a bid to gauge the performance of the Congress government in the last five years. The findings will be put in public domain and it will be for all to see how the the government fared and to what extent it remained true to its election manifesto of 2008. Mizoram’s concerted effort to have free and fair elections deserves recognition on a national level. The state is doing what it takes to be a trendsetter for rest of the country. Uttar Pradesh can say it’s too big to enforce such discipline; Chhattisgarh may say the security situation is tad too volatile to focus on ethical electioneering; but that doesn’t absolve them of transgressions.

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Disclaimer: The views expressed are of those of the author and do not represent the views of Elections.in.

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Not too much of a social person.Like to be with just a handful of people, aspire to lead a healthy and happy life with a satisfying job in hand. Hate fake people and more than that I get offended with lies.Can't butter people no matter what the reason be!!