Congress will return with more than 30 seats, says Mizoram CM Lal Thanhawla

Hindustan Times, Aizawl | BySadiq Naqvi
Nov 02, 2018 11:00 AM IST

The Congress leader said he will be contesting from two seats in the 40-member assembly, including his home turf Serchhip and Champhai South.

Mizoram chief minister Lal Thanhawla said on Sunday that the Congress will romp back to power in Mizoram with over 30 seats. The state will vote on November 28.

Mizoram CM Lal Thanhawla
Mizoram CM Lal Thanhawla

“We will get more than 30 seats,” said Lal Thanhawla, who has been the CM of the state since 2008.

The Congress leader said he will be contesting from two seats in the 40-member assembly, including his home turf Serchhip and Champhai South. He earlier served as chief minister from 1984 to 1986 and then again from 1989 to 1998 before the Congress won again in 2008.

“There is no anti-incumbency in Mizoram. I have not seen any anti-incumbency,” he told HT. “Because of our economic programmes, our growth is among the best in the country… In terms of GDP, we are above the national average. We are the least malnourished state in the country,” he said. Reacting to the two high profile exits from the party including that of his home minister, the 76-year-old Lal Thanhawla claimed it will have no impact. “Their exit is most welcome. The Congress workers are happy,” he said.

R Lalzilriana, the former home minister, and Lalriana Sailo, a sitting MLA who has earlier served as health minister, joined the Mizo National Front (MNF).

Zoramthanga, president of the MNF and a former chief minister, said the Congress will be reduced to less than 10 seats. “To see change they have to have maximum votes. Unless they get more votes and more seats than I have how can they effect change, “said Lal Thanhawla. With the BJP claiming that Mizoram, the last Congress citadel in the region will fall leading to a Congress-Mukt Northeast, the chief minister was dismissive. “We shall see. The BJP has no chance in Mizoram,” he said.

The BJP and the MNF have said they will contest the assembly elections separately. “The MNF is part of the North East Democratic Alliance, which is headed by the BJP. How can they deny they have no alliance,” said Lal Thanhawla. Targeting the ‘misrule’ of the Congress, the opposition claims bad condition of roads and lifting of prohibition will be the two key issues that will lead to change in the state. “People who are saying roads are bad, they have not ventured out of Mizoram. They have not seen any other state,” the chief minister said, adding that prolonged rains continue to batter Mizoram even in October and some roads may not have been repaired.

On the likelihood of prohibition being a key poll issue as the opposition and the powerful church are in favour of it, he said, “Under the influence of Church I imposed prohibition from 1997 to 2014. It was a total failure. People who advocate total prohibition they do not care once it is imposed.

Nobody helped us except our small excise force. And because of that smugglers, illegal breweries, spurious alcohol was available in abundance in entire Mizoram,” he said.

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