Aizawl | Exuding confidence that there will not be hung assembly in Mizoram as the ruling MNF will sweep the polls, Chief Minister Zoramthanga on Tuesday said his party does not have an alliance with the BJP in the state and its support to NDA at the Centre is "issue-based".
Asserting that the MNF's efforts to integrate Zo tribes will reap electoral benefits for the party, he said people fleeing from Myanmar, Bangladesh and Manipur feel safe in Mizoram which is ruled by his party.
Polling for the 40-member Mizoram assembly is underway amid tight security arrangements, and it will continue till 4 pm.
Speaking to reporters before casting his vote in Aizawl, Zoramthanga said that his Mizo National Front (MNF) will win the polls due to several factors including the implementation of various development projects despite financial constraints and failure of the rival parties to put up good candidates.
In a bid to distance his party from the saffron party, he said, "We are partners with the NDA at the Centre and our support is primarily issue-based. In the state, we do not have any links or alliance with the BJP." The MNF president asserted that his party is focusing on Mizo sub-nationalism and making massive efforts to integrate all Zo ethnic tribes.
"People who have fled from Myanmar, Bangladesh and Manipur feel secure under the MNF government," he said.
Zoramthanga said that the MNF, if it retains power, will take steps to rehabilitate refugees from Myanmar and Bangladesh and internally displaced people from Manipur by constructing prefabricated homes if the need arises.
However, the government's utmost aspiration is that peace and normalcy return to these places, he said.
"Our greatest desire is that peace returns to Myanmar, Manipur and Bangladesh and the Centre continues its efforts towards this end so that people return to their native places," the 79-year-old rebel-turned-politician said.
Mizoram currently shelters 32,492 refugees from Myanmar and Bangladesh and 11,991 internally displaced people from Manipur, according to the state home department.
The Myanmar nationals took shelter in the northeastern state after the military junta seized power in the neighbouring country in February 2021.
The Zo ethnic people from Bangladesh's Chittagong Hill Tracts fled to Mizoram due to alleged military offensive, while people from Manipur have been taking shelter in the state since early May this year due to ethnic violence.
The MNF, which had bagged 26 seats in the previous assembly polls in 2018, fielded 40 candidates this time.
Main opposition Zoram People's Movement (ZPM) and the Congress have also fielded nominees in 40 seats each.
The BJP, which contested 39 seats in 2018, is contesting 23 constituencies this time, while the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) has fielded four candidates. There are also 27 independent candidates.
Over 8.57 lakh voters, including 4.39 lakh women, are eligible to exercise their franchise to decide the fate of 174 candidates, of whom 18 are women.
The counting of votes will take place on December 3.