15% voter turnout in 2 hours in Mizoram

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Aizawl (IANS) Polling is underway for 40 seats to elect a new Mizoram Assembly. Nearly 15 per cent of the over 7.68 lakh electorate cast their votes in the first two hours on Wednesday, officials said.

"Till 9 a.m., 15 percent voter turnout has been recorded," an Election Commission official said. 

Around 11,100 security personnel comprising of the central paramilitary and state security forces have been deployed to foil any trouble during the polling, the official said. 

Voting will continue till 4 p.m. 

In all, 7,68,181 voters, including 393,685 women, would decide the fate of the 209 candidates, of whom 15 were women. 

In 2013, only six women had contested in the Assembly polls and none were elected. 

Mizoram's Joint Chief Electoral Officer Zorammuana told IANS that no untoward incident has been reported so far from anywhere in the state. 

Besides the two national parties, the Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), many regional parties have fielded candidates in most of the 40 assembly seats. 

These include the main opposition Mizo National Front (MNF), People's Representation for Identity and Status of Mizoram (PRISM), Zoram People's Movement (ZPM) and Meghalaya-based National People's Party (NPP). 

However, the main contest was likely to be between the ruling Congress and the MNF. Both the parties have fielded 40 candidates each. The BJP has fielded candidates in 39 constituencies. 

Except for 10 years -- 1998-2003 and 2003-2008 -- the Congress has been in power in Mizoram since it became a full-fledged state in 1987. 

Counting will be on December 11 along with four other poll-bound states -- Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Telangana, and Chhattisgarh. 

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