In Mizoram, Congress and BJP are in an unlikely alliance
Congress and BJP members have come together to rule the Chakma Autonomous District Council by keeping the MNF out after elections delivered a hung resultindia Updated: May 02, 2018 20:02 IST
A Congress-BJP alliance? Strange as it may sound, that’s what’s happening a tribal body in Mizoram while the two parties are fighting tooth and nail in the rest of the country.
Elections on April 20 to the 19 of the 20 seats of the Chakma Autonomous District Council (CADC) delivered a hung result.
So, those elected from the rival parties decided to form an alliance, even naming it United Legislature Party (ULP), to keep the Mizo National Front (MNF) out.
The alliance staked claim to rule the council after Congress extended unconditional support to the BJP. On Wednesday, Governor Nirbhay Sharma approved the new council which would be headed by Santi Jiban Chakma of the BJP as the chief executive member. “The governor has approved this coalition and they will be sworn in the next couple of days,” Rodney L Ralte, secretary, district council affairs department said.
BJP has five members in the newly elected council, while Congress has six. The MNF which won eight seats but lost out due the unlikely alliance, has demanded a floor test.
The Congress-BJP alliance is at odds with the latter’s proximity with the MNF, which is part of the Northeast Democratic Alliance, led by the saffron party.
Moreover, BJP president Amit Shah had tweeted that the results of the election mark the beginning of BJP’s rise in Mizoram, highlighting how the BJP and the MNF have 13 seats between them.
This understanding with the Congress is unlikely to carry over to the assembly elections in the state, scheduled for December.
BJP claimed that the Congress members of the district council were giving support in their individual capacity. “They are supporting the BJP-led council in their individual capacity. It is not the Congress which is supporting,” JV Hluna, president of the Mizoram state unit of the BJP said. “Not just the chief executive member, all the other executive members would be from the BJP,” he said, explaining the understanding.
Mizoram’s sports minister and Congress leader Zodintluanga, however, sidestepped claims that the members are giving support in their individual capacity. “It is a coalition of different political parties like the UPA or the NDA,” he said.
“And the Congress members too will share the posts in the council,” he said. “There are too many positions. And Congress and BJP together have just 11 members,” he said.
Zodintluanga claims the BJP has decided to seek the support of the Congress because the ethnic Chakmas understand that the Congress will come back in the Assembly polls. “They want to be with the ruling party in the state,” he says explaining how local concerns dictated the decision.
This tribal autonomous body in southern Mizoram had been under the governor’s rule since March 22. Following allegations of misappropriation of funds, the governor had asked the state’s accountant general to audit the council’s accounts last month.
The council for the ethnic Chakma people was constituted in 1972 under the Sixth schedule of the Indian Constitution.