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Congress leading in Mizoram

Aizawl (IANS): The ruling Congress was in an upbeat mood in Mizoram with its candidates leading in 13 of the 16 constituencies for which trends were available as counting of votes for the 40-member state assembly began Monday. It also won one seat, said the officials.

“In the South Tuipui seat, Congress candidate John Siamkunga was declared elected, defeating opposition ZNP (Zoram Nationalist Party) nominee J.Lalchhuana by a margin of 1,568 votes,” a state Election Commission official told reporters.

According to the Election Commission, the opposition Mizoram Democratic Alliance, led by the Mizo National Front (MNF), is leading in two seats.

All the 16 seats, trends for which are available so far, are in southern and northern Mizoram, bordering Myanmar and Bangladesh.

Unlike assembly polls in 2008, the Congress did well in southern Mizoram.
Over 81 percent of the total of 690,860 voters exercised their franchise Nov 25.
Postal ballots are being counted first, followed by votes recorded in the electronic voting machines (EVMs).

The results would decide the fate of 142 candidates, including six women.
Chief Minister Lal Thanhawla, also the state Congress chief, is contesting from two constituencies – Serchhip, his home turf, and neighbouring Hrangturzo – while opposition MNF chief Zoramthanga is testing his electoral fortunes from Tuipui East, bordering Myanmar.

The main poll battle is between the ruling Congress and opposition coalition Mizoram Democratic Alliance, comprising the MNF, Mizoram People’s Conference and Maraland Democratic Front, all regional parties.

The Bharatiya Janata Party, which has little base in the state, Zoram Nationalist Party (ZNP) and the Nationalist Congress Party also contested, fielding candidates on many seats.

Of the 40 constituencies, 39 are reserved for tribals and only one is for general category.
In the last assembly elections in 2008, the Congress won 32 seats.

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