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Mizoram Assembly Polls 2018: Here are the key issues to watch out for

A primary issue for the state is illegal immigration from neighbouring countries such as Bangladesh, Nepal and Myanmar

Assembly elections are due in Congress-ruled Mizoram on November 28. Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) has said they will fight the elections on the development issue.

State of the infrastructure and abolition of alcohol prohibition will be other important issues that the parties fighting the Mizoram battle will have to keep in mind.

Women-centric issues

Topping the list is women issues. Although women electors outnumber men, the former is yet to get equal representation in Mizoram politics. Also, Congress could get into trouble for not formalizing Mizoram Divorce Ordinance, 2008 promulgated by the state government during the Mizo National Front (MNF) rule. The opposition Mizo National Front-Mizoram Peoples Conference are pitted against the Congress over this issue.

Illegal immigration

Another issue for the state is illegal immigration from neighbouring countries such as Bangladesh, Nepal and Myanmar. Illegal immigration has shot up drastically in Mizoram and Nagaland over the last few years. Reports estimate illegal migrants at 10,000 in the state.

Last year, PTI had reported that the state unit of BJP urged the Congress government in the state to detect and deport foreigners who have illegally entered the state.

In December, a conglomerate of major civil societies and student associations of Mizoram urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to ensure that all illegal immigrants, especially Chakmas from Bangladesh, are deported.

Unemployment

Like many states in India, Mizoram is also tackling the problem of unemployment. Despite ranking first in literacy, many remain jobless in the state. And the primary reason for this is lack of local industry.

Also, the service sector that has been a major growth driver in the Indian economy has also not developed sufficiently in the state.

According to an Indiaspend report, the rapid development is not creating enough jobs and livelihood. Poverty is also an issue, with 20.40 percent of the population living below the poverty line in 2011-12.

The two main reasons for poverty in the state are under-developed agriculture and unskilled labour. Tribals practise traditional and unscientific ‘jhum’ or slash-and-burn method of cultivation, in which land is cleared and vegetation burned to make way for new cultivable land.

Infrastructure development

Infrastructure development is one of the main poll planks in the state.

Mizoram’s roads are in a terrible condition, and they have not seen improvement over the two Congress terms.

Earlier this month, the top leadership of the Mizo National Front had called for a statewide rally on October 13 to protest bad roads.

The condition of roads has been a matter of much public discussion over the past few years.

Numerous local community-based groups throughout the state, including capital Aizawl, have often called for volunteer community work to repair badly damaged roads.

Some have taken to blockades to highlight the state of bad roads leading to their towns and villages.

Bru refugees

The Bru refugees who fled from Mizoram in 1997 were once again called back to their home state. But the Supreme Court instructed the Mizoram government not to go ahead with the proposed repatriation process.

There are over 32,000 Brus lodged in six relief camps in North Tripura district.

On July 2 this year, another repatriation of Mizoram’s Brus officially ended. This was the eighth such attempt since 2009.

Abolition of alcohol prohibition

The state assembly passed the Mizoram Liquor Prohibition and Control Act (MLPCA) in 2014 and it came into force from January 15, 2015, replacing the earlier Mizoram Liquor Total Prohibition Act (MLTPA).

The first wine shop opened in Aizawl on March 16, 2015 and officials in the Excise & Narcotics Department (END) say they expect huge profits.

However, there have been reports of increased alcohol-related deaths in the state. The Congress lifted the prohibition and the Opposition parties are now pitted against the party over this issue.

News source: Money Control

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Categories: Banner, Mizoram, National

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