The Zoram People's Movement (ZPM) is likely to form the next government in Mizoram for the first time as the party is leading in 26 seats in the 40-member Assembly leaving far behind the ruling Mizo National Front (MNF), which is ahead in only ten seats.

As the counting of votes for the Mizoram Assembly elections is underway on Monday in 13 centers across the state, trends showed the opposition Congress leading in only one seat while the BJP was ahead in three seats.

ZPM's President and Chief Ministerial candidate Lalduhoma is leading in the Serchhip seat while most of the prominent nominees of the party were leading in their respective seats.

MNF candidate and Chief Minister Zoramthanga was trailing in the Aizawl East-1 seat where ZPM nominee Lalthansanga was leading.

ZPM's President and Chief Ministerial candidate LalduhomaZPM's President and Chief Ministerial candidate Lalduhoma

Deputy Chief Minister and MNF candidate Tawnluia was also trailing in Tuichang seat, where ZPM's W. Chhuanawma was leading. Several other MNF Ministers were also trailing in their respective seats.

In the 2018 elections, MNF bagged 26 of the 40 member-Assembly, while the ZPM got eight seats. The Congress had bagged five seats and the BJP managed to win one seat.

The counting of votes for the Mizoram Assembly polls, held on November 7, began at 8 a.m. amid elaborate security arrangements in all 11 districts of the state.

Additional Chief Electoral Officer H. Lianzela said that initially postal ballots were counted and then the counting of votes polled through the Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) was taken up.

Over 4,000 officials, including women, were engaged in the counting process. These officials are posted at 40 counting halls under 13 centres in 11 districts, the official told IANS.

Director General of Police Anil Shukla said that adequate security measures were in place for the smooth conduct of the counting process.

Women voters' turn out in Mizoram assembly polls higher than men
Women voters' turn out in Mizoram assembly polls higher than menIANS

Adequate contingents of Central Armed Police Forces and Mizoram Armed Police have been deployed across the state to maintain law and order.

More than 80 per cent of the 8.57 lakh voters exercised their franchise to decide the electoral fate of 174 candidates, including 16 women.

The ruling Mizo National Front (MNF), the main Opposition Zoram People's Movement (ZPM) and the Congress have fielded candidates from all 40 seats while the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) is contesting four seats.

The BJP has fielded candidates on 23 seats with a special focus on linguistic minority inhabited areas, especially where the Reang and Chakma tribal communities are in good numbers in the voters' list. Besides them, 27 independent candidates are also in the fray.

(With inputs from IANS)