Angarika Gogoi | Dec 10, 2018 | 6 min read
Riding the anti-incumbency wave in Mizoram, Mizo National Front (MNF) won the right to form the government with 26 seats, a massive improvement from only five seats in 2013. Congress suffered the biggest disappointment in the state with 5 seats after winning 34 seats in the 2013 Assembly elections.
The incumbent Chief Minister Lal Thanhawla lost in both the constituencies--Champhai South and Serchhip--he was contesting from. In Champhai South, he lost to TJ Lalnuntluanga of the MNF while in Serchhip he lost to Zoram People Movement’s Lalduhoma.
The ZPM, which did not win any seats in 2013 and won only two in 2008, secured 8 seats this time, while BJP won one after winning none last elections.The People’s Right to Information and Development Implementation Society of Mizoram (PRISM), an anti-corruption watchdog which converted to a political party last year in November, did not fare well. The party is contesting only 13 seats, did not win any seats.
Vanlalruata, PRISM leader contesting from Aizawl North 1 and Serchhip has secured 79 and 29 votes respectively from the constituencies.
There were 15 women candidates this time but not one of them could win a seat. Vanlalawmpuii Chawngthu from Congress, who was the only woman in the state Assembly after winning the Hrangturzo constituency bye-election in May 2014 (after Chief Minister Lal Thanhawla vacated this seat to keep the Serchhip Assembly constituency with him), lost her constituency to Lalchamliana from the MNF.
Party-wise vote share for MNF was 37.6 per cent while the Congress polled 30.2 per cent votes. In 2013, the Congress had secured the largest vote share with 44.6 per cent while the MNF had secured 28.7 per cent votes. The BJP improved its vote share to 8 per cent while it secured only 0.4 per cent in 2013.
Strong anti- incumbency
People in Mizoram voted for a change after 10 years of Congress rule in the state. This is not new for the state. The Congress had lost to the MNF in Mizoram in 1998 Assembly elections after being in power for almost 10 years. In 2008, the MNF had lost its mandate to the Congress and Lal Thanhawla had taken charge as the CM.
MNF leader Zoramthanga won from Aizawl East 1 with 8,358 votes. He said the people of Mizoram have suffered a lot in the 10 years of Congress rule. He has served as the Chief Minister of Mizoram from December 1998 to December 2008 and is the MNF’s CM candidate.
“We are going to form a government alone with a single majority. If the mandate comes in a different manner and we fall short of the required number, we'll collaborate with smaller parties, avoiding BJP and Congress," he said.
There was a sense of anti-incumbency and we tried to fight hard against it, said Prof Maliana, Mizoram Congress spokesperson. “There are issues like bad road and lack of development issues in the state, which went against us. But there were achievements of Congress that we failed to focus during the campaigns. We congratulate the BJP for opening its account in the state, hopefully they win at least one,” he quipped.
Failure of BJP
Despite multiple campaign attempts, the BJP failed in its quest to seek control of the North-Eastern state. It secured only one seat while in 2013 elections, it had scored none. Earlier in the day before counting of the votes was complete, Mizoram BJP president JV Hluna said the BJP was hoping to win three to five seats and that the party would be a part of the government in case of a hung assembly.
“Our party is open to going with any party because none of them will be able to form the government without our support, be it the MNF or the Congress. Development is our agenda and for this, we can go with Congress also,” he said.
Hluna had contested from the Tawi constituency and lost to R Lalzirliana of MNF who secured 4,940 votes. Lalzirliana was the former home minister who quit the Congress party in September this year to join the MNF.
Other two leaders from the Congress who quit to join the BJP included former Mizoram Assembly speaker Hiphei and BD Chakma. While Hiphei lost his seat from Palak constituency to KT Rokhlow of Congress, Chakma emerged victorious from Twichawng with 10,986 votes to win the only seat for BJP.
Vijay Lakshmi Rai, president of BJP's Women Wing, Mizoram, said she is happy that BJP opened its account this time. She added, “The other parties used religion as a weapon against us. They involved the church as a part of the campaign and I strongly condemn it.”
The BJP had six female candidates this time but none of them won. “But we are not going back home, our fight against issues like addiction and lack of development in the state will continue. I am happy that Zomramthanga is going to become the chief minister. I hope he bans alcohol in Mizoram again because this is ruining the young generation,” she said.
ZPM plays spoil sport for Congress
The Zoram People’s Movement (ZPM) won eight seats, three more than the Congress.
"Trend shows that the MNF is forming the government with a clear majority but we are second and the reason behind our defeat is the ZPM," said Prof. Maliana, Mizoram Congress spokesperson. He said the voters who had supported Congress in last two elections voted for ZPM this time.
Lalduhoma emerged as the winner from the Aizawl West 1 constituency with 7,709 votes, followed by the MNF’s Sangthuama, who polled 6,646 votes. Lalduhoma also emerged as the winner in Serchhip with 5,471 votes defeating the incumbent CM Thanhawla, who secured 5,071 votes.
Lalduhoma, 69, is a former IPS officer and has spoken in multiple interviews about how Mizoram is looking for a change in government.
ZPM spokesperson Upa Dawngkima said the Mizo people wanted a change and they voted for MNF and ZPM.
“This mandate shows the failure of the Congress and we are happy to see this. There is no good road and the state is addicted to drugs and alcohol. The MNF is getting a clear mandate and we are winning in at least three seats. We are going to support the MNF from outside but won’t be a part of the government,” he said before counting was over.
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