Mizoram braces for poll amidst Mumbai gunbattle

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Aizawl, Nov 28 (UNI) Bleary-eyed Pu Lalthinawala has been missing his morning mass in the Presbyterian Church near the Treasury Square for the past two days.

This is a rare exception for this septuagenarian, a former teacher, who never misses the morning mass. But the ongoing terrorist strikes in Mumbai, being telecast live round-the-clock by television channels, kept him up till the wee hours.

''I go to sleep quite early by Mizo standards, but not these two days, as I was surfing channels till 0300 hours. I have missed the morning mass, but I prayed for those innocent souls. My heart bleeds,'' said the teacher, who had witnessed senseless violence for two decades in Mizoram, till the peace accord was signed in 1984.

The happenings in Mumbai have sucked out the life and soul of the Mizoram election which is anyway uneventful, in comparison to the rest of the country, because of strict code of conduct imposed by the civil society.

''I do not feel like working for the election, although it is just three days away,'' says Lalmapuia, working closely with the Zoramthanga camp of the Mizo National Front (MNF).

The Congress camp is a little upbeat, as UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi is supposed to address a meeting later in the afternoon. But even her meeting is confined to the medium-sized Vanapa hall, the only major public hall of the city, as the election rally was banned by the civil society and Church at Mizoram.

Only Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was allowed to address the two public election rallies.

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