Mizoram Elections: MNF Surges Ahead, Zoramthanga Likely to Be CM
With Congress faltering in Mizoram, who will be the next chief minister of the state?
As counting day on Tuesday, 11 December, progresses, the battle for Mizoram is becoming clearer.
As per trends at 2 pm, the Mizo National Front (MNF) – the main Opposition to Congress in the last Northeast bastion of the party – is leading in 24 seats, as opposed to Congress, which is leading in only six seats. With the BJP only managing a lead in one seat and the other parties such as Zoram People’s Movement (ZPM) notching up leads in nine, the MNF looks all set to form the government.
With the return of the MNF to power, party leader and two-time chief minister Zoramthanga will be looking forward to returning to the position.
In the Assembly elections of 1998, Zoramthanga led his party to victory and became the chief minister of Mizoram. He was then re-elected in 2003 for a second consecutive term, reported India Today. In the 2013 elections, his party only managed to notch five seats, but in 2018, the party fielded candidates in all 40 constituencies, hoping to win over 25 seats, according to the report.
In the 2018 elections, Zoramthanga himself is contesting from Aizawl East-I, according to the list of candidates released by the party.
The MNF has links to the BJP, with an alliance at the centre dating back to 1998, but the party chose to contest the Mizoram State elections by itself. Reports said that the decision was based on the BJP’s Hindutva ideology and how it would reflect in what is a predominantly Christian state.
The party will be bouncing back to power after 10 years, having lost power in 2008, reported PTI. It had held power for ten years, from 1998 to 2008. In the last ten years, the Congress has been in power, led by sitting Chief Minister Lal Thanhwala, a former insurgent turned mainstream politician. The CM lost by 1,049 votes in the Champhai South constituency, one of the two seats that he was contesting from. The seat was won by MNF candidate TJ Lalnuntluanga.
CM Lal Thanhawla also lost the second seat he was contesting from, his home turf of Serchhip, to the Zoram People's Movement's (ZPM) chief ministerial candidate Lalduhoma, reported PTI.
The Congress was hoping to hold on to their last bastion in the Northeast. However, most exit polls on 28 November, on polling day, predicted a win for the MNF in the state, unseating the Congress party.
In the 2013 elections, the Congress had swept the polls, winning 34 seats in the 40-member Assembly, while the MNF had won only 5. This time, however, encumbered by anti-incumbency and corruption charges, the Congress faltered and the MNF galloped ahead, gaining an almost unbeatable lead.
(With inputs from India Today and PTI.)
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