The Congress suffered a setback in poll-bound Mizoram on Monday as senior leader and Speaker of the legislative assembly, Hiphei, quit the party and resigned from the House to join the BJP. Currently, Mizoram is the only Congress-ruled state in the Northeast. It is scheduled to go to polls on November 28, with the results to be announced on December 11.
Hiphei told The Indian Express over the phone that he will contest the upcoming Assembly polls from Palak, the constituency he represented before resigning, on a BJP ticket.
The 78-year-old veteran politician has been a Rajya Sabha MP for two terms — from 1990-1996 and 1996-2002. Hiphei’s shift to the BJP comes after Congress state vice-president and cabinet minister R Lalzirliana quit in September to join the Mizo National Front (MNF) and contest elections on their ticket.
When asked why he left the Congress, Hiphei said the party did not give him a ticket. “They kept delaying and delaying to ultimately deny (me),” he said. He also said the BJP is committed to the development of the Mara Autonomous District Council (MADC) areas under which Palak falls.
The MADC is one of the three Autonomous District Councils in Mizoram —based on the sixth schedule of the Constitution —for the Mara tribal community.
Himanta Biswa Sarma, Assam finance minister and convenor of North-East Democratic Alliance, tweeted, “I heartily welcome Sri Hiphei to the BJP. He resigned as an MLA and Speaker of Mizoram Assembly. He has posed his faith in PM Sri Narendra Modi’s vision of Sabka Sath Sabka Vikas.”