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Over 83 per cent turnout in Mizoram’s Serchhip assembly constituency by-poll

AIZAWL: Over 83 per cent turnout was recorded in the by-election to the Serchhip assembly constituency of Mizoram on Saturday, official data said today.

Polling was held peacefully in 29 polling stations from 7 am to 7 pm, and the turnout percentage was recorded 83.8 per cent.

Except malfunctioning of a few EVMs which were replaced, no untoward incident was reported from any part of the state.

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A total of six candidates, including those of the ruling Mizo National Front (MNF), the Congress and Zoram People’s Movement (ZPM), are in the fray.

The MNF has pitched its vice president and former Lok Sabha member Vanlalzawma, while the ZPM and the Congress have nominated Lalduhoma and PC Laltlansanga respectively. Counting of votes will take place on May 2 along with those of assembly elections in five states, including Assam.

The bypoll was necessitated by the disqualification of incumbent MLA Lalduhoma under the anti-defection law in November last year.

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The Election Commission of India (ECI) had extended the duration of the polling period by an hour following appeals by political parties and the recommendation of the state chief electoral officer (CEO) to enable all voters to exercise their franchise.

It was originally scheduled to be held between 7 am and 6 pm. The period was extended to facilitate a section of voters, affiliated to Seventh-Day Adventist Church, to exercise their franchise after sunset.

Chief minister Zoramthanga, ZPM and the Seventh-Day Adventist Church had last month separately urged the ECI to reschedule the dates of both the events as they fell on days important for Christians. The ECI had rejected the plea though.

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Saturday is a sanctified day for certain Christian denominations in Mizoram, especially the Seventh Day Adventist Church which follows the Sabbath, a day of religious observance and abstinence from work. Sunday is also a holy day for Christians.

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