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Mizoram Assembly Polls 2018: Here’s All You Need to Know

Voting for Mizoram’s 40-member state Assembly is almost around the corner, with the polls commencing on 28 November.

Updated

Video Editor: Mohd Irshad Alam

Voting for Mizoram’s 40-member state Assembly is almost around the corner, with the polls commencing on 28 November.

The three main contenders for the seats – the Congress under Chief Minister Lal Thanhawla that is currently in rule; a regional party named Mizo National Front (MNF), who have been giving the Congress a run for its money since Mizoram became a state in 1987 and the BJP, which surprisingly doesn’t have much of a stronghold in the state.

These elections are an important run-up to the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, as Mizoram is the only state out of the eight making up the north-east, where the BJP is not in control – individually or in any form of alliance.

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What is the Congress-MNF History in the State?

While the Congress has been in power in Mizoram since a decade ago, it was the MNF which had formed the first independent state government, when it won 24 seats out of 40 in the 1987 elections, and had its leader, Laldegna, swear in as the state’s first Chief Minister.

From 1987 to 2008, the MNF remained in power, although the vote-share differences between the Congress and MNF had started decreasing through the years, as the Congress started catching up with the latter, in terms of mass popularity.

In 2008, Congress finally defeated the MNF, winning 32 out of the 40 seats, while the latter bagged only three. 

In 2013, the Congress under Lalthanhawla emerged victorious again, winning 34 seats, while the MNF, now sidelined, won only five seats. The BJP, again, did not win any seats.

How Does the BJP Hope to Gain Stronghold?

The Congress and the MNF have made it a point to present the BJP as an “anti-Christian” party, as a result of which it has never quite managed to gain a stronghold in the predominantly Christian state, PTI reported.

The BJP, however, is looking at new ways by which it can enter as an equal contender in the fight. It has been pushing for the repatriation of the exiled Bru refugees, who fled the state for Tripura, back in 1997, following an outbreak of ethnic clashes against them.

Since most of the Brus claim to be “Hindus”, the BJP possibly thinks that getting them back to Mizoram, will help secure a loyal voter base in the state. 

Another option that the BJP has is to tie-up an alliance with one of the major parties in the state – either the Congress or the MNF. However, while both parties have allied with the BJP at some point in the past, they have loudly proclaimed that they will be contesting the November elections by themselves, PTI reported.

With the parties denying any kind of tie-up with one another, and instead, dissing one another’s chances in the upcoming polls, it remains to be seen who will emerge the victor.

The results of the Mizoram elections, will be announced on 11 December.

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

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