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Published On: Tue, Dec 11th, 2018

Mizoram’s Five-Time CM Lal Thanhawla loses fortress

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lalthanhawlaAIZAWL: Lal Thanhawla, the incumbent chief minister who was seeking to win his overall sixth and third straight term this year, lost his bastion of Champhai South to MNF’s T J Lalnuntluanga. The Congress was once a dominant force in the Northeast, but its fortunes have dwindled, especially with the BJP making inroads there and changing the equation.

However, this time around, the battle has turned into a two-way match between the MNF and the Congress. The Congress and MNF have ruled the state since 1987. In 2013, Congress got a massive mandate, winning 34 out of 40 seats.
The 76-year-old Congress leader has been ruling the state since December 2008. In the 2013 assembly elections, he became the chief minister for the fifth time, a record in Mizoram.The ruling Congress was aiming for a third consecutive victory, but the MNF, the main opposition and an ally of the BJP at the centre, has left the party behind in Mizoram, among the last few states and the only one in the northeast with the Congress. The Congress is ahead in only five.
The MNF, which has been out of power for 10 years, has been optimistic about the win. Their hope is hinged on the fact that the governments change every 10 years in Mizoram. “I have a strong belief that I don’t need any other party and particularly the BJP to form government,” said MNF president and former Mizoram chief minister Zoramthanga, who ran the state between 1998 and 2008.

When asked about the anti-incumbency wave in Mizoram, Mr Thanhawla had said, “Not at all. Only MNF is feeling anti-incumbency factor. They don’t have anything to point fingers at me — no scandal, no misuse (of funds). How can they say anti-incumbency wind is blowing in Mizoram? It’s only their wishful thinking.”
The state with a population of about 10 lakh is seen by the BJP as the “final frontier” in the northeast as it is in power in all other states of the region — either by winning polls or aligning with regional parties.
An aggregate of the exit polls had predicted the MNF notching 18 seats, the Congress 16 and the others six, while not giving the BJP even a single win. The MNF and Congress contested from all the 40 seats in the state, and an optimistic BJP fought in 39.
A total of 201 candidates in 40 Assembly seats went to polls on November 28, the key players being the Congress, the Mizo National Front (MNF), the Zoram People’s Movement, and the Bharatiya Janata Party. While the incumbent Congress, the BJP and the MNF contested on all 40 seats, the ZPM battled it out on 35 seats.(With Agency Inputs).




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