Mizoram civil society groups to meet poll panel officials over counting date

Mizoram civil society groups to meet poll panel officials over counting date

Aizawl, Nov 18 (PTI) Mizoram NGO Coordination Committee, a conglomerate of major civil society organisations and student bodies, on Saturday threatened to stage a massive protests if their request to reschedule the date of counting of votes is not accepted.

This comes days after the Election Commission decided to go ahead with counting of votes on December 3, despite repeated appeals from various quarters to delay it by a day or two.

The committee, which comprises five major organisations headed by Central Young Mizo Association (CYMA), convened a meeting here over the poll panel's decision not to change the counting date.

The meeting decided to send a delegation to Delhi to discuss the matter with the Election Commission, the committee said in a statement.

'If the meeting with the Election Commission officials does not yield a positive result, the committee will organise a protest,' it said.

The committee also urged Mizoram Kohhran Hruaitute Committee (MKHC), a conglomerate of major churches in the state, to continue with its efforts to ensure that counting is not held on Sunday.

All political parties in Mizoram, including the ruling Mizo National Front (MNF) and BJP, and the NGO Coordination Committee, had jointly written to the Election Commission on October 12 urging it to reschedule the counting date as it falls on Sunday, which is a sacred day for the majority of the people in the Christian-dominated state.

Soon after the announcement of elections by the Election Commission on October 9, political parties had separately appealed to the poll panel to change the counting date to December 4 or 5 to ensure that it did not fall on a Sunday.

The MKHC and Mizoram People's Forum (MPF), a church-sponsored poll watchdog, have also repeatedly urged the Election Commission to consider changing the counting date on an appropriate day other than Sunday and Saturday.

According to the 2011 census, Christians constitute 87 per cent of the population of Mizoram.

State Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Madhup Vyas, who discussed the matter with the Election Commission recently, had earlier said counting will be held as per the schedule announced by the central poll panel.

Vyas visited Delhi and discussed the matter with EC officials on the issue on November 14.

Counting, unlike polling, does not involve common people and they are free to do what they like on December 3 as only the designated staff who work directly under the Election Commission would be involved, he had said.

'Counting has to take place for all five states at the pre-designated date,' Vyas had also said.

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

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