THE MIZO National Front (MNF) won absolute majority in Mizoram on Tuesday, riding on strong anti-incumbency against the Congress, its promise to bring total prohibition in the state and implement the socio-economic development programme (SEDP).
Lal Thanhawla (80), who has served as the state’s chief minister for one half-term (1984-86) and four full terms (1989-1998; 2008-present), lost both the seats he contested — reflecting the strong anti-incumbency wave. He lost Serchhip — a seat that he has won seven times in the past — by 410 votes, and Champai South by 1,049 votes.
The Congress won only five seats. The outgoing CM told reporters in Aizawl on Tuesday that he did not know “what exactly went wrong”. “People must be wanting change,” he said, adding that the Congress had “underestimated” the Zoram People’s Movement (ZPM), an alliance of non-Congress, non-MNF parties that won eight seats.
Asked about the key steps that he would take after forming the government, MNF chief Zoramthanga, who is set to be the next CM, said that implementing SEDP, banning liquor, rehabilitating people suffering from alcohol abuse, and developing roads were among the issues on top of his agenda.
According to the MNF’s manifesto, the SEDP aspires to achieve “self sufficiency” in production of food products, dole out assistance to farmers and create a new marketing system for facilitating sale of farm produce and other products. Under the SEDP, the manifesto says, “efforts shall be made to initiate various industries, including farming, manufacturing, mining, eco-tourism, adventure tourism”.
The Congress government had ended 18 years of total prohibition in the state by replacing the Mizoram Liquor (Total Prohibition) Act,1995 with the Mizoram Liquor (Prohibition and Control) Act, 2014, against the wishes of the Church and NGOs.
Promising holistic development, BJP opens account
Guwahati: The BJP opened its account in Mizoram on Tuesday by winning the Tuichawng Assembly constituency, the only seat in Chakma Autonomous District Council marked by poor infrastructure and development. Promising development and a zero-corruption government if voted to power, the BJP had also said that many central schemes were not implemented in Mizoram because of the Congress government. For the Chakmas, the BJP had promised to rectify the alleged discrimination that the community faces in the state and bring about holistic development.
The BJP contested 39 seats in Mizoram.
B D Chakma, who left the Congress this year to join the BJP, won Tuichawng seat with a margin of 1,594 votes. “I hope that this being the first seat for the BJP, we will get all the help from the party for the development of the Chakma community,” Chakma said. —Abhishek Saha