ECI does not respect Mizo sentiments: Cong

AIZAWL, 20 Nov: The Mizoram Pradesh Congress Committee (MPCC) on Monday slammed the Election Commission of India (ECI) for not changing the date for counting votes cast in the state assembly poll despite numerous appeals, and said that the ECI does not respect Mizo sentiments.

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

Blaming the ECI for its “deafening silence” on the issue and “disrespecting the sentiments of the Mizo people,” it said that the Congress feels 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 comply with similar requests made in the northeastern 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, Chief Electoral Officer Madhup Vyas, who discussed the matter with the ECI recently, said that the commission will not reschedule the counting date in Mizoram.

MPCC president Lalsawta had written to the ECI on 9 October, 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 3 December.

He wrote to the state chief electoral officer on 13 November again, requesting that the ECI reschedule the counting date to 4 or 5 December as a small state like Mizoram will be able to complete all election processes within the timeframe 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 3 December.

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

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

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

The committee, which comprises five major organisations of Mizoram, including the Central Young Mizo Association and the Mizo Zirlai Pawl, decided to send a delegation to Delhi to discuss the matter with the ECI.

 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 7 November and more than 80 per cent of over 8.57 lakh voters cast their votes to decide the fate of 174 candidates. (PTI)