Mizoram 2018

BJP’s minority gamble fails in Mizoram

An elderly Bru refugee reacts after casting her vote at Kahnmun playground in Mizoram. File   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangment

The Bharatiya Janata Party’s minority gamble did not quite come off, yielding a solitary Assembly seat in Mizoram.

The BJP has performed better in 2018 than in 1993, when it got 3.11% votes. The party’s focus was on four minority communities that were deemed a potent electoral force in at least 11 Assembly constituencies.

The BJP’s Buddha Dhan Chakma, an import from the Congress, won the Buddhist Chakma community-dominated Tuichawng seat. But while Kina Ranjan Chakma finished second in West Tuipui, its candidate in Thorang forfeited deposit.

West Tuipui and Thorang have a decisive Chakma population.

In three of the four seats where the minority Lai and Mara communities – both Christian and part of the greater Mizo society – dominate, the BJP candidates lost their deposits. In Palak, former Assembly Speaker Hiphei finished third. He had quit the Congress to join the BJP before the polls.

Blank in Bru areas

At one point of time, the Assembly election in Mizoram was threatened by the controversy over enrolling the minority Bru voters staying in relief camps in adjoining Tripura for two decades. About 40,000 Brus had left Mizoram in 1997 following ethnic violence but about 9,000 of them returned in phases.

The BJP had been banking on the 11,987 Bru voters in the Tripura refugee camps as well as 10,919 resident Brus to deliver three seats in Mamit district. All three BJP candidates in these three constituencies finished third.

The Congress won the Hachhek seat bordering Tripura. Kanhmun, where the Election Commission had established a special camp for the Bru voters of Tripura relief camps, falls in this constituency.

The BJP candidate in Kolasib, a seat with a considerable Bru population, forfeited deposit.

33 lose deposits

Of the 39 candidates that the BJP had fielded, 33 lost their deposits. They include State party chief J.V. Hluna, who got only 714 votes in Tawi constituency, and two pastors who were expected to change the mindset in Christian-majority Mizoram about the BJP’s Hindutva image.

While Rev. L.R. Colney managed only 287 votes in Aizawl West-I constituency, Rev. H. Lalruata fared better with 405 votes in Lunglei East.

The strike rate of BJP candidates who lost their deposits this time worked out to 84.62. The forfeiture strike rate for 17 party candidates was 100, as was the case with nine candidates in 2008.

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Printable version | Apr 14, 2021 10:20:40 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/elections/mizoram-assembly-elections-2018/bjps-minority-gamble-fails-in-mizoram/article25728373.ece

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