At last count, Ziona Chana has 39 wives, 94 children and 33 grandchildren. They all live with him in his 100-room, four-story house perched among the hills of Baktwang village in the Indian state of Mizoram.
That’s a lot of votes. And every vote counts. So the family is very popular these days with politicians.
“We were witnessing a rush of politicians seeking votes in the last few days,” Chana told Agence France Presse this weekend, while seated at his estate. “During every election we are much in demand as the winning margins of politicians in this state are slim, so even 100-odd votes matter to them,” the 70-year-old explained.
The Indian elections is expected to the be the biggest exercise in democracy in history. In all, 815 million people are eligible to vote between April 7 and May 12. More than 930,000 polling stations are expected to be set up and manned with roughly 11 million workers, the Post’s Adam Taylor reports.
But in the remote northeastern state of Mizoram, Chana, who claims he’s the head of the “world’s largest family,” may be a kingmaker. With him goes his brood. And with his brood may go the fate of that state’s election.
His state, which began its vote on Friday, has a population of 1.1 million — 700,000 of whom are eligible to vote. More than 160 of these people belong to Clan Chana. “When we go to vote, we always cast our ballots for the same candidate or party. That means more than 160-odd votes are assured from one family,” one of Chana’s wives, Rinkmini, told reporters.
What does Chana, who’s in charge of a religious sect of 4,000 members and spreads his time evenly among his harem, want in return for his vote?
“All we want is good governance and the well-being of the state instead of personal gains for our family from the politicians,” says Chana, who in one year married 10 women.
In 2011, the Daily Mail reported the family was organized with “military discipline,” so it’s not inconceivable they’d all vote together.
“I consider myself a lucky man to be the husband of 39 women and the head of the world’s largest family,” Chana said.