With less than two weeks left for the polls, and the replacement for CEO still undecided, the Home Affairs Ministry said that there are discussions to postpone the poll to Dec 7.
Aizawl: The 40-member Mizoram Assembly was supposed to go to the polls on November 28. The results of that election were to be announced on December 11. It now seems that the state might postpone the elections to Dec 7 after a controversy regarding the appointment of Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) in Mizoram.
Govt sources in this Indian Express report said that the final decision will be taken by the Election Commission (EC), in consultation with the state government.
“The Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) is also learnt to have decided to contest the EC’s order on the attachment of Mizoram Principal Secretary (Home Department) L Chuaungo with the MHA. As first reported by The Indian Express on November 1, the EC ordered the removal of Chuaungo after State CEO S B Shashank, in a letter dated October 29, complained to the poll panel of “direct interference” by the state in the preparation for polls,” the report said.
The report said that Chuaungo’s removal snowballed into a major controversy ahead of elections, as political parties and civil society groups protested against CEO Shashank. Last week, Chief Minister Lal Thanhawla wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi demanding Shashank’s removal.
Thanhawla is said to be contesting from two constituencies which are reserved for the Schedule Tribe category. The last date to file nomination papers was Nov 9.
The EC has the intention to replace Shashank and asked the government for suggestions. With less than two weeks left for the polls, and the replacement for CEO still undecided, the Home Affairs Ministry said that there are discussions to postpone the poll to Dec 7.
“Since the term of the Mizoram Assembly ends on December 15, 2018, the new CEO will get time to prepare after he is appointed. However, a change in date of elections in the state is a long-drawn process and will have to be done by bringing a notification. The final decision in this regard will be taken by the EC, in consultation with the state government,” said sources.
“In his complaint, Shashank had alleged insensitivity on the part of the state regarding voting rights of the displaced Bru community living in relief camps in Tripura and referred to the “active role” played by Chuaungo in the revision of electoral rolls and deployment of central security forces for the Assembly elections. Stating that Chuaungo’s continuance would have an “adverse impact on conduct of smooth, free and fair election process”, the EC had directed that he should be attached with the MHA,” the report said.
The EC has defended Shashank and its decision to replace Chuaungo but said that had to take the decision after seeing how things turned out in the last two months.