Monday, November 25, 2013

The Curious Case of Mizoram

Mizoram is going to polls today, i.e. 25th November with the biggie Madhya Pradesh. Though much of the media attention would be towards the poll in Madhya Pradesh, let's talk about the election culture of Mizoram which is very unique, interesting and worth mentioning.

Mizoram on Map of India

This 23rd Indian state has a reputation of conducting cleanest elections in India.

This is because the election process is monitored by a social organisation called MPF (Mizoram People Forum). Polls are not only monitored by MPF, but they are also micro-managed. Everything including the selection of the candidates, expenses incurred by the parties and even the poll manifestos goes through the guidelines given my MPF which are stringent than those given by Election Commission.

Why Political Parties follow?
MPF is led by the larges religious body of the state (The Synod) and also includes the members of prominent social organisations like Young Mizo Association (YMA), Mizoram Women's Association, Mizoram Elder's Association etc.

The political parties are aware that by not following the dictate of MPF, they could head for an electoral disaster. This is also supported by the fact that the margin of victories in most constituencies of the state are as low as 100 to 1000 votes.

What are MPF's Guidelines.
Below are the few.(Source: The Economic Times)
  • No campaign office; no rallies on their own.
  • Party leaflets, manifestos etc. to be distributed by MPF volunteers.
  • Parties can't decide on their own how many flags, posters etc. can be put up in a particular localities.
  • Lavish feasts, musical programs, road shows etc not permitted.
  • Alcoholics can not contest elections.
  • Candidates of rival parties address audience from one podium and takes questions. Very much like the American system.

The election system of Mizoram is definitely unique and the good part is that this system is able to keep the politics of the state clean. Like with all, questions are also raised on this system and the strictness of the rules laid down by MPF. It is also said by "experts" that such system can not be possibly implemented in other states. All right, but lot can be possibly learnt from this, at least!?

Further Reading: