All the 20 Congress members of a tribal council in Mizoram have recently merged with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to form its next executive committee.Chief executive member N Zakhai of Mara Autonomous Development Council (MADC) wrote to its chairperson H Sahlo last week informing about the merger with the BJP, which has two members. Fifteen Congress members of MADC signed the decision to merge with the BJP, while five others gave consent over the phone. The Congress members include three who have been nominated.“All the 17 elected Congress members and three nominated have merged with the BJP and we have formed the executive committee of MADC,” Mizoram BJP president JV Hluna said.“The Congress legislators were being pressurized by Mizo National Front, the ruling party in the state, to merge with them. But instead of merging with a regional party the Congress legislators decided to join the BJP, which is ruling at the Centre,” he added. The MADC is one of the three autonomous district councils in Mizoram. Last year, members of the BJP and Congress had come together to rule the Chakma Autonomous District Council (CADC) in the state.According to a news report, the Congress members’ decision was also motivated by the Centre’s promise to amend the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution to provide more autonomy and direct funding to autonomous district councils.Election to MADC was held in May 2017 and Congress had bagged 17 of the total 25 seats. The Mizo National Front (MNF) had won five seats and its alliance partner Maraland Democratic Front (MDF) bagged two. One seat was won by an Independent candidate.Three Congress members were later nominated to the council taking the party’s tally to 20. In October, the MDF severed its alliance with MNF and its two members joined the BJP.In April last year, BJP and Congress members of CADC had joined hands to control the 20-member council in order to keep the MNF, which had won eight seats, out of power.