Members of the Mizoram NGO Coordination Committee (NGOCC) staged protests across the state on Friday
Members of the Mizoram NGO Coordination Committee (NGOCC) staged protests across the state on Friday seeking a change in the date of counting of votes for the state assembly polls scheduled on December 3.
The demonstrations were held in state capital Aizawl and other district headquarters.
NGOCC is an umbrella body of major civil society organisations and student bodies, including the influential Central Young Mizo Association (CYMA) and Mizo Zirlai Pawl (MZP).
Addressing the rally near Raj Bhawan here, NGOCC chairman Lalhmachhuana blamed the Election Commission for remaining silent on the issue despite repeated appeals by political parties, churches and NGOs to reschedule the counting date as it falls on a Sunday, a sacred day for Christians, who form the majority of the state's population.
The NGOCC had also recently sent a delegation to Delhi and discussed the issue with poll panel officials, he said.
"It is unfortunate that the Election Commission of India remained silent on the issue and failed to respond to our appeals," he said.
Lalhmachhuana, who is also the president of CYMA, said the demonstrations were nothing but to safeguard the Mizo community and their religion.
He urged political parties to keep their offices shut on counting day. He also requested party representatives and candidates not to turn up at the counting centres on Sunday as a mark of protest.
Leaders of other organisations such as Mizo Hmeichhe Insuihkhawm Pawl (MHIP) or Mizoram Women's Association, Mizo Students Union (MSU), Mizoram Kohhran Hruaitute Committee (MKHC) and MZP also addressed the rally.
MZP president H Lalthianghlima and MSU president Samuel Zoramthanpuia vehemently blamed state chief electoral officer (CEO) Madhup Vyas for allegedly not taking sincere steps to change the counting date.
Both the students leaders said they will take measures to ensure that no further election is conducted under the leadership of Vyas.
Polling for the 40-member Mizoram assembly was held on November 7 where more than 80 per cent of over 8.57 lakh voters exercised their franchise to decide the fate of 174 candidates.
Ruling Mizo National Front (MNF), main opposition party Zoram People's Movement (ZPM) and Congress had contested in 40 seats each.
The BJP and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) had contested in 23 and 4 seats, respectively. There were 27 independent candidates.
In the last assembly polls held in 2018, MNF had bagged 26 seats and ZPM won 8 seats relegating Congress, which bagged 5, to the third place.
The BJP opened its account winning one seat.
Meanwhile, officials said the election department, police machinery and civil administration are fully prepared to conduct counting on Sunday.
Counting will begin at 8 am in all 13 counting centres and 40 counting halls across that state in which postal ballots will be counted first followed by votes polled in EVMs, they said.
Over 4,000 counting personnel will be involved in the counting and there will be 399 EVM tables and 56 postal ballot tables, officials added.
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