News & Information From Northeast India

Mizoram election: Congress losses its last bastion in Northeast

Congress lost its last bastion in the Northeast as Mizo National Front (MNF) made a grand comeback after a decade of Congress role in Mizoram.

In the 40-seat assembly, Zoramthanga-led MNF won 26 seats while Zoram People’s Movement (ZPM) won eight and the Congress could gather just five. In 2013, Congress had won 34 seats.

Incumbent chief minister Lal Thanhawla had a terrible time as he lost from two constituencies — Champhai South and Serchhip. He lost Champhai to MNF’s TJ Lalnuntluanga, while Serchhip was won by Zoram People’s Movement’s (ZPM) chief ministerial candidate Lalduhoma.

The urgent need for change and internal fighting among the Congress seem to be the main reason for the downfall of the party.

For the first time in Mizoram, there has been a four-cornered contest. Besides Congress and MNF, independent candidates under the banner of ZPM and BJP had the fight among themselves.

Though the BJP tried to make a loud entry, it failed miserably. The only seat won by the saffron party was Buddha Ram Chakma, who quit Congress and joined the BJP just before the elections.

“This is how Congress helped the BJP to open its account in Mizoram,” this is how Prof Jangkhongam Doungel of Mizoram University analyzed.

Apart from that, the BJP has no influence in Mizoram. And the downfall of the Congress came because of the internal conflicts which resulted in five of its MLAs including former ministers to quit the party and join MNF and BJP.

“And they have won today. Congress denied tickets to 11 of the sitting MLAs. Two former ministers and prominent Congress leaders, who joined MNF, have been elected today. Another former minister joined BJP and he too has been elected,” Doungel said.

At the same time, he said that BJP and their slogan ‘Congress Mukt Northeast’ has nothing to do here. “This is because of MNF who have won single-handedly,” Doungel said.

The candidates who have played under the banner of ZPM has managed to give a good fight and stood second ahead of Congress. This is kind of an indication that the door is closed for Congress.

“Congress has been in the power for a long time. So is the chief minister Lal Thanhawla. So, people needed a change and MNF was the best possible alternative,” senior journalist and political commentator Samudra Gupta Kashyap told The News Mill.

Zoramthanga, a rebel turned politician, expressed gratitude to his supporters after the victory and said that his first priority will be to put a ban on the alcohol in the state.

The ban on alcohol was partially lifted by the Congress in 2016 by amending the existing bill.

“My agenda will be on socio economic development. Besides the ban on liquor, I want to focus on improving the roads of the state which are in the ICU,” Zoramthanga told reporters in Aizawl.

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