A Few Healthy Practices During Elections In Mizoram - Eastern Mirror
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A Few Healthy Practices During Elections in Mizoram

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By EMN Updated: Nov 09, 2023 12:13 am

Electioneering is always a fantastic experience. This time for Mizoram polls, I, as president of Nagaland unit of Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), was named as a ‘star campaigner’ and assigned by my national leadership to visit Mizoram and join colleagues there during campaigning.

I was there for about a week with Dr. Bhaben Choudhury, President of AAP Assam, and a host of dedicated party officials. We were joined by AAP in-charge, North East, Mr Rajesh Sharma and Punjab Education Minister Mr Harjot Singh Bains.

It was truly a fascinating experience. But my thoughts were often disturbed and I felt excited about the differences in the pre-polling scenes in an election season in Mizoram and in Nagaland.

I encountered at least few buildings where two political parties had their offices adjacent to each other.

In this building (as seen in the photo), we saw election offices of the Congress party and the Mizoram-based new party, ZPM — Zoram People’s Movement. And both these parties, I was told, are bitter rivals in this year’s Mizoram elections. So, one could not say, they are allies or friends.

I was telling my party colleagues in Mizoram that such a scene is unthinkable in Nagaland. A few National journalists I interacted with in Aizawl and later in Delhi Press Club also tells me that this is not possible in other Indian states, especially in the north or central India.

As a Naga politician and as a former Nagaland MLA, I was also stunned to hear that in some assembly segments in Aizawl belt (there are 11 seats in the district), the entire election expenditure budget for a candidate could be around INR 50,000 (Rupees fifty thousand) only. Compare this with our story in Nagaland!

There was another surprise and yet a pleasant experience for me. During the election season, in party offices, no one can eat their lunch or dinner. Only thing allowed inside is a simple cup of tea.

Candidates do not have to run round the clock kitchens. In contrast, in Nagaland, we not only have to run kitchens; the hosts/candidates and his or her families have to ensure a good supply of pork. Even in Meghalaya, candidates in elections run kitchens for followers, party workers and admirers; but I was told providing meat or fish is not compulsory there.

In Mizoram, even two-three days before elections, common people were not much bothered about which party will do well or what will be the outcome. Daily bazaars ran as usual. Shopkeepers remained busy on their own and office goers were doing the normal running.

In several places, I saw overwhelming response to our party AAP. People also told us — you all have come late, but we appreciate AAP’s education policy in Delhi and Punjab.

The AAP is contesting only four seats in Mizoram in 2023 and we all are confident of doing well.

I was also touched by certain unique election campaign norms. I was told a candidate can easily win election just because his one/two page ‘Appeal to Voters’ have good promises which people can link to.

There is also practically a ban on politicians/candidates making house to house campaigning beyond a stipulated date and only common platform for candidates can be organized by Mizo People’s Forum volunteers, neutral volunteers from the Churches. There are many healthy practices in socio-political life of Mizoram and some of these, I feel, as a Naga politician, are worth emulating.

(Asu Keyho is President of AAP, Nagaland, and views expressed are personal)

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By EMN Updated: Nov 09, 2023 12:13:46 am
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