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Saturday, April 13, 2024

Mizoram, Chhattisgarh Elections

Mizoram and Chhattisgarh, two Indian states grappling with persistent violence and unrest, are gearing up for crucial elections. With Mizoram’s 40 Vidhan Sabha seats and Chhattisgarh’s 20 out of 90 seats set to go to the polls on November 7, the predominant sentiment among voters is a yearning for peace and development. In Mizoram, the shadow of ethnic violence in neighbouring Manipur looms large, and Naxalite insurgency casts a dark cloud over Chhattisgarh. The electorate is increasingly focused on achieving stability and progress in these troubled regions. The meaning of “peace and development” in these states remains a subject of debate among academics and analysts, but for the average voter, it’s a straightforward desire for security and prosperity

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Mizoram and Chhattisgarh, two Indian states grappling with persistent violence and unrest, are gearing up for crucial elections. With Mizoram’s 40 Vidhan Sabha seats and Chhattisgarh’s 20 out of 90 seats set to go to the polls on November 7, the predominant sentiment among voters is a yearning for peace and development. In Mizoram, the shadow of ethnic violence in neighbouring Manipur looms large, and Naxalite insurgency casts a dark cloud over Chhattisgarh. The electorate is increasingly focused on achieving stability and progress in these troubled regions. The meaning of “peace and development” in these states remains a subject of debate among academics and analysts, but for the average voter, it’s a straightforward desire for security and prosperity. However, a prevailing perception among voters is that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is associated with conflict and violence, which might affect its electoral prospects. In Mizoram, violence in Manipur since May has created tension, and the escalated Naxal violence in Chhattisgarh, following a major Maoist attack in April, has left residents in the tri-junction region of Chhattisgarh, Telangana, and Odisha on edge. Incidents of violence continued even during election campaigns, with Naxals targeting a BJP political leader. In Manipur, where the BJP is in power, the party is viewed as responsible for the ongoing violence. In Chhattisgarh, the Congress, the opposition party, shares some blame, as the operation against Naxals is coordinated by the BJP-led central government.

Mizoram, ruled by the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) under the Mizo National Front (MNF), was significantly affected by the violence in Manipur. MNF leader and chief minister Zoramthanga’s decision not to share a stage with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who came to campaign for the BJP, led to the disintegration of the NDA. MNF is contesting all 40 seats in the state, while the BJP is competing in 23 seats. The Congress is the main opposition in Mizoram, and it may gain greater support from the people, given the disillusionment with the MNF for aligning with the BJP. In Chhattisgarh, the BJP faces criticism for fielding candidates with criminal backgrounds, with 26 of their candidates disclosing criminal cases. Approximately 25% of BJP contestants have criminal records, which could harm the party’s image. Nevertheless, the BJP is attempting to portray the Congress as the more corrupt party. Recent allegations against Bhupesh Baghel, the chief minister of Chhattisgarh, concerning illegal betting apps, have intensified the political rivalry.

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The violence in Chhattisgarh is increasingly being perceived as a battle between the BJP and Naxals, reminiscent of the time when it was seen as a fight between Congress and Naxals, following the massacre of Congress leaders in a Naxal attack in 2013. The BJP remains the primary opposition in the state, but internal conflicts within the party have marred its campaign. Despite hopes of benefiting from anti-incumbency sentiments and the division of anti-BJP votes, multiple parties, including Janta Congress Chhattisgarh (JCC), Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), Gondwana Gantantra Party (GGP), Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), Communist Party of India (CPI), and Communist Party of India (Marxist) (CPI(M)), are contesting in several constituencies and have their own support bases. As the first phase of the elections draws to a close, Chhattisgarh appears to be voting with a clear focus on peace and development, potentially benefiting the Congress and frustrating the BJP’s electoral ambitions.

 

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The Hills Times
The Hills Timeshttps://www.thehillstimes.in/
The Hills Times, a largely circulated English daily published from Diphu and printed in Guwahati, having vast readership in hills districts of Assam, and neighbouring Nagaland, Meghalaya, Arunachal Pradesh and Manipur.
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