Nov 27, 2008

India - Mizoram first-time voters take their cue from Obama

Sushanta Talukdar

“Change we need” for the better in the State

AIZAWL: Inspired by U.S. President-elect Barak Obama’s victory speech and his trademark slogan “change we need,” first-time voters in Mizoram say they want the December 2 Assembly polls to bring about a change in every sphere of life in the north-eastern State.

“Like Obama said change we need, it is time we change. We need change in every sphere. Change for the better. More particularly in education, we need a drastic change. We need better courses, infrastructure. We need better institutions… ,” Lalnunmawii, III year student of B.A. (English) of the Pachhunga University College here, told The Hindu.

Endorsing his friend, Jonathan Lalthingpuia, a student of third year of B.A. (Sociology), says: “We need quality educational institutions like the IIT, good engineering colleges, better courses, Internet facilities in our schools, colleges so that we can be on a par with students elsewhere in the world. We need a government in Mizoram that can bring about these changes.”

The total number of electorate has increased from 5,32,462 voters in the 2003 Assembly polls to 6,11,124, and a majority of the new voters are first-time electors.

R. Lalrinmawia of III B.Sc (Chemistry) said Mizoram needed a combination of young people with new ideas and old people with experience to run the government.

MNF campaign film

A majority of the first-time voters were born after the Mizo National Front signed the Mizo Peace Accord with New Delhi in 1986 to end insurgency. The ruling MNF, however, feels that its campaign film, “Farewell to Arms” on the two decades-long underground movement would inspire the first-time voters to back the party.

“The first-time voters are sure to have their independent thought. This is the case not only in Mizoram but also in other States and other countries.

“We have been screening our film in every village so that those born after the signing of the peace accord may know about their past, the sacrifices made by their parents and elders for their present future,” said MNF general secretary and party’s campaign director F. Aithanga.

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