A new political alliance in Mizoram has sought funds from people to contest assembly elections due this year.

Formed in October last year, the Zoram Peoples Movement (ZPM)—a non-Congress, non-Mizo National Front alliance — has opened an ‘open account’ for voters to donate money.

The Zoram Nationalist Party, Mizoram Peoples Conference and the newly formed Zoram Exodus Movement have formed the alliance to contest the next polls in the northeastern state.

“We started an open bank account last month seeking contribution from public as most of the members are not economically well off to contest polls,” said ZPM general secretary K Sapdanga.

While the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) started seeking money from public to contest polls a few years ago, ‘open account’ is a new concept in Mizoram.

“People can donate any sum, small or large. Instead of rich candidates influencing voters with money, we want people to donate for elections so that there’s public ownership in government,” Sapdanga said.

The alliance believes voters’ donations will help curb money power in elections, which in turn will bolster the fight to root out corruption in governance.

The ‘open account’ started last month at the Treasury Square branch of Mizoram Rural Bank in Aizawl hasn’t got an enthusiastic response yet. ZPM office-bearers hope that donations will start pouring in once poll dates come nearer.

“We are satisfied with the response from the public and want to contest all 40 seats. It is clear that people want change and they are against the ruling Congress, and also don’t want to bring MNF to power again,” Sapdanga said.

Besides ending electoral corruption, ZPM plans to contest polls on the planks of reducing government expenses, increasing hydro-electricity production and development.

The Mizoram Peoples Conference, a constituent of ZPM, was in power in the state from 1979 to 1984. It was the main opposition party after that for nearly two decades. The party fared poorly in the past three polls -- 3 seats in 2003, 2 in 2008 and 1 seat in 2013.

The Zoram Nationalist Party, formerly known as the Mizo National Front (Nationalist), drew a blank in 2013.

According to a report by the Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR), the average amount of money spent by the winning candidates in 2013 in Mizoram was ₹4.39 lakh, 55% of the expense limit of ₹8 lakh.

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