Congress blames ECI for ‘injustice’ in Mizoram over vote counting date

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Mizoram Pradesh Congress Committee on Monday slammed the Election Commission for not changing the date for counting votes cast in the state assembly poll despite numerous appeals and said it does not respect Mizo sentiments.

Voters show their fingers marked with indelible ink after casting their votes for Mizoram Assembly elections, in Mamit district(PTI)

The Congress in a press release said that numerous appeals have been made by political parties, including it, to re-schedule the December 3 poll counting date as it falls on a Sunday, which is a sacred day for the majority Christians in Mizoram.

Blaming the Election Commission for its “deafening silence” on the issue and “disrespecting the sentiments of the Mizo people”, it said the Congress felt that “injustice” is being done in Mizoram as the poll body had changed the polling date for Rajasthan due to a Hindu festival though it refused to do comply with similar requests made in the north eastern state.

“The ECI does not only care about hurting the sentiments of the Mizo people. It is deliberately trying to hurt their sentiments,” the Congress statement alleged.

Last week state Chief Electoral Officer Madhup Vyas, who discussed the matter with the EC recently, said that the Commission will not reschedule the counting date in Mizoram.

Mizoram Congress president Lalsawta had written to the Election Commission on October 9 saying that the counting date be changed as no official programmes or businesses are transacted on Sundays in Mizoram. He had asked the poll body to reschedule the date of counting after December 3.

He wrote to the state chief electoral officer on November 13 again requesting that the EC reschedule the counting date to December 4 or 5 as a small state like Mizoram will be able to complete all election processes within the time frame set by it.

Votes cast in all the five states – Chhatisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Telangana, Rajasthan and Mizoram – in the recent assembly polls will be counted on December 3.

Political parties, civil society organisations, churches and a church-sponsored poll watchdog in Mizoram opposed it and sent numerous pleas to the Election Commission.

Christians constitute about 87 per cent of Mizoram population according to the 2011 census.

Meanwhile, Mizoram NGO Coordination Committee, a conglomerate of major civil society organisations and student bodies, has threatened to stage a massive protest if pleas to reschedule counting is not responded to.

The committee, which comprises of five major organisations of Mizoram, including Central Young Mizo Association and Mizo Zirlai Pawl, decided to send a delegation to Delhi to discuss the matter with the EC. If the discussion does not yield positive results, the NGO coordination committee will organise a protest.

Polling for the 40-member Mizoram assembly was held peacefully on November 7 and more than 80 per cent of over 8.57 lakh voters cast their votes to decide the fate of 174 candidates.

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