After being in power for two consecutive terms, internal squabbles and anti-incumbency factor are making the situation difficult for the Congress in Mizoram which is expected to face a tough challenge from the Mizo National Front in the upcoming Assembly polls. Mizoram goes to poll on November 28.
Chief Minister Lal Thanhawla on Saturday alleged that his former cabinet colleagues R Lalzirliana and Lalrinliana Sailo were “corrupt” when they were ministers.
Lalzirliana, who was the state home minister, resigned on September 14 after he was served a show cause notice by the Congress’ Disciplinary Action Committee (DAC). He was expelled from the party on September 17.
The recent resignation of former minister Lalrinliana Sailo from the Congress is also seen as a major setback for the ruling party.
Thanhawla also hit out at Aizawl Football Club president Robert Romawia Royte, who recently joined the MNF, saying proceedings would be initiated against him regarding allegations of over Rs 200 crore graft while in government service.
Royte, popularly known as ‘Triple R’, will contest the Assembly poll from Aizawl East-II seat against state Finance Minister Lalsawta.
Sources in the Mizoram Pradesh Congress Committee (MPCC) said though only a few people have left the party, cracks have begun to appear in its ranks and file.
“The mood within the party is clear from the fact that its nomination committee has failed to make any decision till the announcement of the poll date on Saturday, while the MNF has already made public the list of candidates for at least 98 per cent of the seats,” they said.
The Congress was defeated by the MNF and the Mizoram People’s Conference (MPC) combine in 1998. At that time, then chief minister Lal Thanhawla did not make it to the state legislature as he was defeated in his home turf, Serchhip, by K Thangzuala of the MNF.
The Congress returned to power in 2008 by bagging 32 seats and again in 2013 by winning 34 seats in the 40-member Assembly.
MNF vice-president R Lalthangliana has claimed that many Congress workers would soon leave the ruling party following the footsteps of Lalzirliana and Sailo as they have to abandon the “sinking ship” being steered by Lal Thanhawla.
Lalthangliana claimed that power struggle within the Congress reached its climax and many of its workers would join the MNF.