All eyes are on Mizoram as it goes to the polls on Wednesday, Nov. 28 amid attempt by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to enter the state’s political arena. A total of 201 candidates are in the fray for 40 seats.

In what used to be a bipolar contest between the Indian National Congress and Mizo National Front (MNF) since 1984, the BJP has added flavour this time by fielding 39 candidates in the 40-member assembly. The saffron party failed to open an account in the last elections but its leaders have expressed hope of playing the kingmaker in case the results throw up a hung assembly like in Nagaland and Meghalaya earlier this year.

The Congress has been ruling the state for the last 10 year under the leadership of the incumbent chief minister Pu Lalthanhawla but former CM Pu Zoramthanga of MNF is putting up a firm fight to reclaim the power. No political has succeeded in winning the elections more than two consecutive times in the state since it attained statehood.

The northeastern states will be completely saffronised if Congress fails to retain the power as MNF is a member of North East Democratic Alliance (NEDA), which was formed in 2016 by BJP along with regional parties of the region.

BJP’s rise in the northeast started last year with the wins in Assam, Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh. It further strengthened its position in the region earlier this year by forming the government with its allies in Tripura, Nagaland and Meghalaya. Sikkim is already ruled by Sikkim Democratic Front (SDF), a member of BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA).

With seven of the eight states in the northeast already under its rule, the whole of the region will be saffronised if it wins the elections in Mizoram or through it political alliance NEDA.

The BJP won 36 seats in Tripura’s 60-member assembly and two in Meghalaya (60 total constituencies) in the assembly elections held earlier this year after drawing a blank in the previous polls. It also increased its tally from its previous lone seat to 12 in Nagaland in the last elections and formed the government with its pre-poll ally Nationalist Democratic Progressive Party (NDPP) and other political parties.

Counting of votes in Mizoram will be done on December 11, 2018 along with Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, and Telangana that go to the polls ahead of the Lok Sabha elections next year.

Close fight expected in Madhya Pradesh

• 2,899 candidates contesting for 230 seats
• 464 candidates with criminal case
• 656 crorepatis contesting in this elections

Madhya Pradesh will also go to the polls along with Mizoram on Wednesday. The incumbent BJP won 165 out of the total 230 assembly seats in the last election, while its rival Congress won only 58.

However, it is reported that a close fight is likely between the rival national parties in this elections with anti-incumbency wave in the rural areas expected to affect BJP’s prospect.

According to Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR), which analysed the self-sworn affidavits of 2,716 out of 2,899 candidates contesting in MP, at least 464 criminals are in the fray in this election, out of which 295 candidates declared themselves as having serious criminal cases.

ADR also revealed that 656 crorepati candidates contesting in this election with BJP leading with 179 out of 220 being declared are crorepatis. Congress has fielded 173 crorepatis out of 223 candidates, Bahujan Samaj Party 54 (214 candidates), Aam Aadmi Party 37 (206 candidates, and Samajwadi Party 17 (48 candidates).

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