To align and take on the ruling Congress or not to align, that is the question regional parties in poll-bound Mizoram are exploring.
Apart from the Mizo National Front (MNF), which reigned from 1998-2008, Mizoram has two frontline regional parties — Mizoram People’s Conference (MPC) and Zoram Nationalist Party (ZNP). All are in a dilemma, given the history of flawed alliances in Mizoram.
The MPC snapped ties with MNF a year after forming the coalition government in 1998. The MPC’s (then called Mizo Janata Dal) alliance with Congress ended similarly after the 1993 polls.
The alignments during the state’s maiden civic polls in 2010 for the 19-seat Aizawl municipal body — Congress-ZNP and MNF-MPC — have added to the confusion.
“We have four paths ahead; going it alone, forming a grand regional alliance, tying up with Congress or reviving the one we had with MPC in 2003 and 2008,” said ZNP president Lalduhawma. A former IPS officer, he was Congress MP from Mizoram in 1984.
“There is scope for a non-Congress, non-MNF formation but the situation is a little fluid now,” said MPC president Lalhmangaiha Sailo. The party under his father Brigadier Thenphunga Sailo, now 91, had tasted power from 1978-1984.
The MNF is tilted more towards the MPC than ZNP, though it wants the regional parties to come together to stop the Congress from continuing the ‘Indianisation of politics’.
“The upcoming polls must be the start of a lasting coalition among home-grown political parties. It can stop the Congress’ agenda of Indianising the Mizo people,” said MNF leader and former deputy chief minister Lalhmingthanga.
The Congress too is ‘not averse’ to pre-poll understanding. “The possibility cannot be ruled out,” said chief minister Lal Thanhawla.
Who wants whom
Regional players: Mizo National Front (MNF), Mizoram People’s Conference (MPC), Zoram Nationalist Party (ZNP)
Scenario 1: Congress with ZNP and MNF with MPC
Scenario 2: Grand alliance of regional parties MNF, MPC and ZNP
Scenario 3: Each on their own