Updated: August 21, 2015 6:30:58 pm
The youth wing of the opposition Mizo National Front, or MNYF, has upped the stakes in a running battle with the state Congress leadership over Lal Thanzara’s resignation as Minister of State and MLA over a conflict of interest issue. They have also used CM Lal Thanhawla’s own public pronouncements to question if he filed correct campaign expenditure claims to the Election Commission for the 2013 state-wide polls.
In Wednesday’s press conference to defend his younger brother Lal Thanzara, the CM had taken a shot at MNYF president K Vanlalvena saying he had approached Lal Thanhawla for money to sabotage the MNF’s chances at Hrangturzo, one of two constituencies Lal Thanhawla won from in the November 2013 elections.
“I know certain things. In the last state elections, the former MNYF president had told K Vanlalvena he would get a party ticket in Hrangturzo. But since it turned out that he did not, K Vanlalvena came to me with one of our district-level secretaries and said he would campaign for me while still being part of the MNF. Later on he asked me for some money and I gave him some,” Lal Thanhawla had said.
Speaking to reporters on Friday, K Vanlalvena called this a lie, recalling the CM had in April also brought up the topic where he said he gave the current MNYF president Rs 2 lakhs during the election campaign.
“Candidates in the 2013 elections were allowed an expenditure of Rs 8 lakhs each. Lal Thanhawla has already submitted expenditure claims to the ECI, and if he has not mentioned this money he supposedly gave me, then that means he breached election laws. I am now announcing this to the people of Mizoram and the ECI,” K Vanlalvena said, alleging it also shows Lal Thanhawla has been “buying electoral victory.”
Rejecting the Congress claim that he stepped down to clear the way for an investigation and that this showed his innocence, the MNYF has also called Lal Thanzara’s resignation as Minister of State and MLA as the only way out for him.
The opposition charged he would anyway have been forced out of office by higher authorities because of the media expose by Scroll.in and RTI documents that respectively showed he owned a huge amount of shares in a company the CM gave crores worth of business to and that a family business had been supplying more than Rs 22 crores worth of wares to the state government even as he held important government positions.
Meanwhile, state Social Welfare Minister P C Lalthanliana said he did not unduly favour HP Food Products, the company owned by Lal Thanzara’s family, and that the company had for years been supplying high-protein biscuits to the government for distribution as part of anganwadi midday meals even before the Congress came to power.
He said HP Food Products has for long been a means of livelihood for the former Minister and MLA, and that its business with the government is not borne of any special bias for it. The MNF youth has however said supplying to the government became a “crime” once Lal Thanzara became part of the government.
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