Mizoram 2018

Regional front could play kingmaker in Mizoram

Voters show their identity card as they stand in queue at a polling station in Kanhmun, Mizoram.   | Photo Credit: PTI

The possibility of a fractured verdict — unprecedented in Mizoram’s Assembly elections — could turn the spotlight on a new political front of seven regional parties that has tasted little or no success on their own so far.

Most exit polls suggest the Congress could lose Mizoram, its last outpost in the northeast. But projections say the Mizo National Front (MNF), the Congress’ traditional regional rival, also might not be able to win the required 21 seats to form a government in the 40 member Assembly.

On par with BJP

In such a scenario, the Zoram People’s Movement (ZPM) could play a bigger role than the BJP. The rightwing party is hopeful of making a debut in the State, riding on the votes of minority tribes such as the Chakma and Bru. The ZPM and BJP are expected to win 10-12 seats between them.

ZPM president Lalduhoma, a retired IPS officer who was in charge of former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi’s security, would rather not “jump the gun” going by the electoral outcomes in the past. His old party, the Zoram Nationalist Party, had failed to live up to expectations in the last three elections.

“Let us see how things unfold on Tuesday,” he said.

As independents

The ZPM, which has fielded 37 candidates, did not register with the Election Commission to be recognised as a political party. All its candidates contested as independents but with a common symbol, which the Congress and MNF objected to citing rules.

The Congress and MNF had also targeted ZPM by fishing out Mr. Lalduhoma’s conversation with local BJP leaders for “striking a deal”.

The ZPM has termed the allegations propaganda. “Facts don’t lie. The MNF is a member of the North East Democratic Alliance, forged by the BJP, while the Congress ruled the Chakma Autonomous District Council in coalition with BJP,” Kenneth Chawngliana, ZPM’s senior vice-president, said.

The worry in the Christian-majority State, though, is the possibility of BJP winning a few seats. “We have seen how the BJP became a part of the Meghalaya government by winning just two seats. And Mizoram’s regional parties are vulnerable to the financial might of the BJP,” said a senior Congress leader, who did not wish to be named.

The MNF ruled Mizoram from 1998 to 2008 after an almost 10-year Congress reign. The Congress returned to power in 2008, winning 32 seats and continued by winning 34 seats in 2013.

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Printable version | Mar 3, 2021 2:21:03 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/elections/mizoram-assembly-elections-2018/regional-front-could-play-kingmaker-in-mizoram/article25704790.ece

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