In Mizoram, Congress banks on mix of old and new faces
Faced with desertions, anti-incumbency and the growing influence of rival parties, the ruling Congress in Mizoram is banking on a mix of old and new faces to retain power in its last bastion in the Northeast.
On Thursday in Aizawl, Mizoram chief minister and state party chief Lal Thanhawla released a list of candidates for 36 of the 40 Assembly constituencies.
Candidates for the remaining four will be announced later.
The Congress’s fight will be led by 76-year-old Lal Thanhawla, who plans to contest two seats -- Serchhip, his old constituency, and Champhai South.
Christian-majority Mizoram will go to the polls on November 28. The Congress, in power in the state since 2008, hopes to make it a hat-trick of wins this time around.
“Some people believe no party can form government for three consecutive terms. We will break that notion and make it a hat-trick this time,” Lal Thanhawla told journalists in Aizawl.
The party has dropped eight sitting MLAs and included 12 new faces. Those who failed to make the list include senior cabinet minister R Romawia, former minister Lalrinmawia Ralte and deputy Speaker Lalrinnawma.
Among the new faces are former IPS officer LT Hrangchal and former student leaders A Lalhmacchuana (Serlui), and James Thanghmingmawia (Tuichang) .
Sitting MLAs who are in the list include Lalrobiaka (Dampa), cabinet minister H Rohluna (Lengteng) and CM’s Lal Thanhawla’s brother Lal Thanzara (Aizawl North-III).
The Congress had 34 members in the assembly, but last month home minister R Lalzirliana quit and joined the opposition Mizo National Front (MNF).
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has been able to spread its influence in the Northeast in the past two years.
But in Mizoram it is expected to be a direct contest between the Congress and MNF. The MNF is part of the North East Democratic Alliance (NEDA), a BJP-led conglomeration of anti-Congress parties in the region.
“We respect age and experience, but the effort this time is to give around one-third of the tickets to new faces that, I am sure, will be welcomed by voters, especially the youths,” Luizinho Faleiro, the Congress in-charge for the Northeast (excluding Assam), said.