The Zoram Nationalist Party has expressed "sadness" for what it says is Mizoram's major NGOs being used to spread political propaganda just before the Mizoram Assembly polls that concluded on November 25.†
Speaking at a meeting of party workers at the party headquarters in Aizawl on Monday, ZNP Vice-President K Liantlinga said the state's powerful NGOs "need to rethink" on their actions just a few days ahead of polls, accusing them of becoming "political weapons".
The state's major NGOs and student unions had, in the last days of the week before the November 25 polls, issued joint public statements condemning the use of violence and militants to garner votes. While the NGOs had not directly named any party, word was fast spreading on social media as well as in public discussions that the ZNP was being supported by Hmar and Paite militants to intimidate voters.
The Congress and the Mizoram Democratic Alliance had also accused the ZNP of working with these militants, soon after which the NGOs had issued statements appealing to people not to vote for parties working with ethnic militant groups. Mass based voluntary civil society organisations hold great sway over public opinion in Mizoram, with some claiming to have members in every Mizo family.
"The ZNP does not and will never have written agreements with these groups unlike the other political parties who have signed pre-poll covenants with them in the past. Even these NGOs had not found any evidence of us working with these groups and yet they allowed themselves to become weapons of political parties to spread their propaganda," K Liantlinga said.