Mizo National Front (MNF) president Zoramthanga was on Saturday sworn in as Mizoram’s new Chief Minister, heading a 12-member ministry. He was administered the oath of office and secrecy by Governor K Rajasekharan during a ceremony at Raj Bhavan here.
The ceremony was marked by prayer, reading from the Bible and singing of a Gospel song. The newly inducted ministers took oath of office and oath of secrecy in Mizo language.
The MNF came to power in the state winning 26 of the 40 seats in the Assembly, uprooting the Congress from its last bastion in the Northeast. This is Zoramthanga’s third stint as chief minister.
Along with Zoramthanga, 11 others — five cabinet ministers and six ministers of state — were sworn in. The five cabinet ministers are Tawnluia, R Lalthangliana, Lalchamliana, R Lalzirliana and Lalrinsanga. Tawnluia has been designated Deputy Chief Minister. The six ministers of state are K Lalrinliana, Lalchhandama Ralte, Lalruatkima, K Beichhua, T J Lalnuntluanga and Robert Romawia Royte.
After taking oath, Zoramthanga told reporters that the MNF has no intention to leave the BJP-led NDA and North East Democratic Alliance (NEDA). He said combating alcoholism and drug addiction would be among the top priorities of his government, besides development projects. “There is no intention at this juncture to leave the NDA and NEDA”, he said.
“The cabinet will decide soon when to ban liquor, while working towards social reformation. We will build world-class de-addiction centres,” he said.
Former chief minister Lal Thanhawla, besides former ministers, legislators and senior officials were present at the oath-taking ceremony.
Rev R Lalhmingthanga, Chairman of Mizoram Kohhran Hruaitute Committee (MKHC), a conglomerate of 16 major churches in the state, read out from the Bible and offered prayers.
“For the first time in history, we started the ceremony with Bible reading and prayers, while we conclude with Hallelujah Chorus, “ said Zoramthanga.
Asked by The Sunday Express about the ceremony marked by Christian rituals, the MNF chief said, “I have no further comments. I am happy we could take the oath with Christian rituals.”
K Vanlalvena, general secretary of MNF, said, “If they have anything to say against the ceremony, they have to look at Article 371G of the Constitution.”