by : Armstrong Pame, IAS, election observer, Mizoram
MIZORAM ELECTION !!
The State that DISQUALIFIES (OVERQUALIFIES) itself to be in the Indian Democratic setup:
People asked me how my Election Experiences were in Mizoram – I only responded saying it was too boring.
Because it was too PEACEFUL… NO ACTION at all!!
Being assigned the duty of an Election Observer by the Election Commission of India to Lunglei District of Mizoram, I had the privilege to see the election from very close quarters and I am taken aback as to see how different the world can be when a neighbour of ours is such an ideal!
Some of the things which I believe that set Mizoram apart from the rest of the States in our country and esp. the North East:
…the only State where many candidates complained about the limit of expenditure for election being set so high at Rs. 30.00 lakhs.. Many of the candidates couldn’t even find a way to spend 10 to 20 lakhs.
….You as a supporter or a candidate can’t go campaigning alone to any village.. it is reported that you have to be accompanied by a church appointed member who will act as a vigilante. So disciplined! You got to follow the rules laid down to play the game of election!
…to my surprise, no party offices were seen hosting a feast for the voters on any of the days.. Infact, no one wants to be identified as having taken even tea from the party offices of the candidates..
..Does it matter who the Star campaigners are?
I usually see people crowding around when a star campaigner – be it celebrities or politicians of the highest office, etc – in other places.. but here, it doesn’t matter who is here in town.. a crowd of either 500 or maximum 1500 seems the highest.. truly they are not impressed by those who come here to preach to them about how their development has to be.. Mizos believe in their own model of development.
…In almost all elections that I have seen, there usually are armed security forces guarding polling stations.. Here, none could be seen except two unarmed State Police who were sent on duty who only had to mend the queues. People were so disciplined that even those two police personnel literally had no job.. except to greet the visiting officials during the poll..
…..I once asked one voter randomly to verify her identity.. Have you already voted – are u here to vote twice?? To which she replied, “I am here only to vote for mine.. is there anyone in the world who votes twice in any election?”
I could see the innocence and shock in her face when I told her that such practices do happen in many mal-practiced elections!
….While in one of the polling stations, I was observing a 90 year old lady going into the voting compartment.. She was taking some time so I stood up to see.. She was praying so earnestly before a button was pressed.. How seriously she took her vote!
….as an observer I was allotted a separate phone no. and was published widely for any complains related to election.. believe me or not.. I didn’t receive a single call!!
…..usually after the voting, complains would usually flood either the observer or the DC for repoll.. I couldn’t believe my eyes. Forget about complaining, political agents of different parties simply authorized whoever was willing to stay back for sealing of the strong room to oversee the process.. What faith they re-pose in one another..
Overall, I was too impressed with the entire election process and how I wish this can be replicated across the country…
Where none have to spend on election and when the best get elected, they don’t have to worry about recovering the money spent in the process of election rather spend on development and its election promises!
(These are just my personal experiences as observed in Lunglei District of Mizoram.)