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Congress faces tough task of keeping flock together in Mizoram ahead of assembly elections

The exit of senior ministers R Lalzirliana, who held the home portfolio and former health minister Lalrinliana Sailo following serious differences with chief minister Lal Thanhawla, just before the elections has dealt a serious blow to the Congress.

india Updated: Oct 12, 2018 16:13 IST
Aurangzeb Naqshbandi
Aurangzeb Naqshbandi
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Congress,Mizoram,BJP
Chief minister of Mizoram Lal Thanhawla in Aizawl. (PTI File )

Ahead of the assembly elections in Mizoram, the Congress is facing a tough task of keeping its flock together as the grand old party makes a desperate bid to retain its last citadel in the North-East.

The exit of senior ministers R Lalzirliana, who held the home portfolio and former health minister Lalrinliana Sailo following serious differences with chief minister Lal Thanhawla, just before the elections has dealt a serious blow to the Congress.

The chief minister has however rejected the contention that the desertions were due to infighting within the Congress, claiming that the two ministers resigned because there were allegations of corruption against them.

But there are apprehensions that more people will leave the ruling party as the elections approach.

The elections to the 40-member Mizoram assembly will be held on November 28.

The pattern is similar to what happened in Meghalaya where several leaders, including five legislators, resigned from party just before assembly elections early this year.

As a result, the Congress failed to retain power and the National People’s Party (NPP) formed a coalition with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and other parties.

The Congress has been in power in Mizoram since 2008 but is facing a strong challenge from the Mizo National Front (MNF), which is banking on the 10-years anti-incumbency to win the elections.

Congress general secretary in-charge of North East Luizinho Faleiro claimed that the MNF has an understanding with the BJP.

MNF chief Zoramthanga is a founder-member of North-East Democratic Alliance (NEDA), a BJP-led coalition of different political parties of all the northeastern states.

“NEDA is a brainchild of BJP chief Amit Shah. If MNF comes to power, the remote control will be with the BJP,” Falerio said.

In 2013 elections, the Congress bagged 34 seats with the MNF winning 5.

However, MNF leaders, including its vice-president R Lalthangliana, have claimed that more Congress leaders and workers would soon leave the ruling party, saying they will abandon the “sinking ship” sooner than later.

First Published: Oct 12, 2018 16:12 IST