Aizwal: Campaigning for the election to the 40-member Mizoram Assembly on November 25 came to an end on Saturday with political parties making a last-minute bid to drum up support of the electorate.
A total of 6.91 lakh voters, 3.5 lakh of them women, would exercise their franchise on Monday to decide the fate of 142 candidates in the poll fray.
The main political parties in the fray are ruling Congress led by Chief Minister Lal Thanhawla, and three party- opposition alliance Mizoram Democratic Alliance (MDA) led by former Chief Minister Zoramthanga`s Mizo National Front.
Apart from them, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Zoram Nationalist Party and Nationalist Congress Party are contesting in the state election.
Mizoram witnessed a peaceful poll campaign under the watchful eye of the powerful Presbyterian Church-controlled Mizoram People`s Forum (MPF), an election watch agency. It had listed a set of dos and don`ts for political parties in the fray and kept a check on any kind of wrong doing by them.
The New Land Use policy (NLUP) of ruling Congress and the proposed Special Economic Development Program (SEPD) of MDA figured prominently during their campaign.
The opposition alliance had also raked up the issue of Mizo nationalism as one of its main planks for the election.
Unemployment and backwardness prevailing in the state were also major concerns raised by political parties.
Candidates attending pujas also snowballed into a poll issue in the predominantly Christian state.
After photographs of Chief Minister Lal Thanhawla sporting a tilak and attending pujas appeared in a local newspaper, opposition MDA accused him and Congress of hurting the sentiments of the Christian dominant Mizoram society.
The MDA led by MNF has also been trying to cash in on the issue of alleged corruption in the government departments.
The campaign mostly revolved around joint platforms organised by election watch agency MPF, where all the contestants of an Assembly segment debated poll issues, development work and other matters, moderated by a MPF member.
The people assembled at these debates directly asked questions to the contenders belonging to various parties.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Congress President Sonia Gandhi and Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi had campaigned for Congress in the state.
State Director General of Police, Amulya Patnaik said during the campaign not a single incident of violence was reported. One of the main reasons behind the violence free poll campaign was the strict watch kept by the MPF, he said.
Chief Electoral Officer Ashwini Kumar also said that the campaign from the time the model code of conduct was implemented has been peaceful.
MPF President Rev Lalramlian Pachuau said, "We don`t support any kind of violence. We have the MPF platform at state level, district level and at local level, which keeps a strict watch on any kind of wrong doings and any attempt to instigate violence."