Aizawl: Elections in Mizoram are typically subdued and incident-free, thanks to the efforts of the Mizoram People’s Forum (MPF), an independent church-led voluntary poll watchdog.
Founded in 2006, the MPF has played a significant role in ensuring that elections in Mizoram are free and transparent, without any undue influence of money power or misconduct.
The MPF gets support from all political parties and stakeholders, including the influential Young Mizo Association (YMA).
The MPF keeps a close watch over poll expenses and the electoral conduct of political parties and their candidates. It also sets up common platforms for candidates to woo voters and highlight their electoral aims, objectives, and future plans.
In the upcoming elections, the MPF has prohibited candidates from hosting community feasts, distributing cash or commodities, or borrowing money or goods during the election campaign.
These guidelines are in place to cut the expenses of candidates and to sensitize the people about the dangers of inducement.
Election officials say that the MPF has been very successful in its efforts to ensure free and fair elections in Mizoram. There has been no case of violation of the model code of conduct or any undemocratic or illegal action in the state since the MPF was formed.
The MPF’s work is especially important in Mizoram, where Christianity is the dominant religion. Around 87% of the state’s population is Christian, and the church plays a significant role in society.
The MPF’s ability to get the support of all political parties and stakeholders is a testament to its credibility and influence.
The MPF’s efforts to ensure free and fair elections are a model for other states in India. By working together, the church, civil society, and political parties can create an electoral environment that is conducive to democracy.
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