He is the richest candidate in Mizoram’s assembly elections with declared assets of Rs 55 crore, owns a popular football club and has a fleet of luxury cars, but Mizo National Front (MNF) leader Robert Romawia Royte says he wants to keep his electioneering modest with door-to-door campaigning on foot.
Mr Royte, the main opposition party’s candidate from Aizawl East-II constituency in the state, is a first-timer in assembly polls and is fighting from a seat where the ruling Congress has fielded veteran leader and incumbent finance minister Lalsawta.
The MNF leader unsuccessfully fought the Lok Sabha polls in 2014 as an independent candidate.
The 51-year old millionaire businessman, who owns Aizawl FC that bagged the I-League title in 2017, said he is following an “eco-friendly” campaign without any hullabaloo or sloganeering.
Mizoram will go for polling on November 28 to elect the representatives for the 40-member assembly, while the counting is scheduled for December 11.
Starting with a meeting with his supporters at 6:45am at the house of an MNF cadre in Aizawl city on Wednesday, Mr Royte held a prayer before going out to campaign.
The campaign team carried a small packet of cards, similar to the size of a visiting card, that had Mr Royte’s name as the MNF candidate from the constituency. The team carried no flags, posters or loud speakers. Instead, they went door to door on foot.
Mr Royte said he favours “a non-corrupt way of campaigning” and is not trying to influence the voters by any other means.
Due to the hilly terrain of Aizawl, each house has three to four floors below the ground level, while similar number of floors are built above ground also. To meet all the residents in a building, one has to climb five to seven floors up and down without any elevators.
“I want to campaign in a clean manner. I restricted all my campaigners from telling anything negative about my opponent. We are against the Congress party, but not against the individuals. Attacking them personally is not good,” Mr Royte said.
“Allegations, mud throwing — these are very bad. Narendra Modi, Rahul Gandhi, Mamata Banerjee, Mayawati — all are using filthy language. It is affecting the image of Indian democracy,” he added.
Mr Royte was declared the Mizo of the Year in 2012 by Lelte magazine and also received Sports Club of the Year award last year for Aizawl FC from Vice-President Venkaiah Naidu in Guwahati.
“Since I joined the MNF on September 17 this year, over 3,000 Congress workers have joined our party. Lalsawta won this seat for two consecutive terms, but this time he will surely lose,” he said.
In the 2013 assembly polls, Lalsawta won the polls by a margin of 177 votes over then MNF candidate Sailothanga Sailo.
Mr Royte said the MNF is surging much ahead of other parties and will form the next government.
The Congress has been in power in Mizoram since 2008 and is eyeing the third consecutive term. In 2013 Assembly elections, the Congress won 34 seats, while the MNF had five and Mizoram People’s Conference bagged one.
Congress and MNF are contesting in all the 40 constituencies this time, while the BJP is fighting in 39 seats with an aim to open its account for the first time in Mizoram.
Mr Royte’s door-to-door campaigning covered around 80 houses on Wednesday.