While Chief Minister Lal Thanhawla’s government, in power for two terms since 2008, is confident of a third term, the principal opposition, Mizo National Front (MNF), believes there is a wind of change.
“There is an anti-incumbency feeling. A primary reason is the lack of development in almost every field — roads are in pathetic condition, and there has been no progress in the field of agriculture or horticulture,” said Zoramthanga, the former chief minister and president of MNF.
While the main contest is between the Congress and MNF, the BJP is hopeful of its chances. Party general secretary Ram Madhav visited Mizoram earlier this month and Amit Shah is expected to reach the state on October 17 to officially launch the campaign.
While the BJP is working on changing its “anti-Christian” image, the party is confident that it is “no longer a big issue”.
“When Ram Madhav visited Mizoram, we travelled to districts such as Champhai. We explained that we are not an anti-Christian party and that we have Christian ministers in Nagaland and Meghalaya. In the upcoming election, we will not put up a candidate from UP or Bihar. We will put a Mizo Christian,” said V Hluna, BJP’s Mizoram unit president.
But a spokesperson of student outfit Mizo Zirlai Pawl, which is not affiliated to any political party, said the public still views BJP as “pro-Hindu”. “The main fight is between Congress and MNF. At this point, we believe, popular support is tilted towards MNF,” the spokesperson said.
The Congress, however, feels anti-incumbency is “quite negligible”. “It is not non-existent but it is not a big issue,” said Rinmawia Ralte, a Congress MLA and political secretary to the chief minister.
But MNF’s Zoramthanga said, “I believe the Congress will not get even 10 out of the 40 seats. If we come to power, we will carry out complete prohibition… A lot of people die because of alcohol.”
The BJP said while it plans to contest alone, it is “open to making arrangements with smaller parties like the newly formed People’s Right to Information and Development Implementation Society of Mizoram and Zoram People’s Movement”.
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