Mizoram home minister R Lalzirliana resigns days after show cause notice by Congress
The move comes two days after the disciplinary committee of the party served a show-cause notice to Lalzirliana, who is also the Congress’s state unit vice president, over reports that he may join a rival party.Updated: Sep 14, 2018 16:31 IST
Internal differences within Congress in Mizoram took a turn for the worse on Friday after senior leader and state home minister R Lalzirliana resigned as the member of the Lal Thanhawla cabinet.
The move comes two days after the disciplinary committee of the party served a show-cause notice to Lalzirliana, who is also the Congress’ state unit vice-president, over reports that he could join a rival party.
“It is true that I have resigned from the cabinet, but I am still a member of the Congress. I would not like to disclose the reasons for my decision,” he said over the phone from Aizawl.
The 69-year-old, who represents Tawi seat in Aizwal, also held the charge of power and electricity, rural development and excise and narcotics portfolios and was the second most powerful person in the cabinet headed by chief minister Thanhawla.
Mizoram goes to polls later this year and the move by Lalzirliana could affect the Congress.
“He came to the Congress Bhawan and told us about his decision to quit the cabinet before submitting his resignation,” said Congress Legislature Party (CLP) secretary Lalrinmawia Ralte.
“It can be assumed he was unhappy with the government’s failure to turn Saitual division, which falls under his seat, into a new district despite assurances by senior party leaders. He said he has to listen to his people,” Ralte, who is also political secretary to Thanhawla, added.
The show cause notice was served on Lalzirliana on Wednesday asking him to furnish his reply within Friday after he made statements about offers from various parties to join them and reports about him being in the list of official candidates of opposition Mizo National Front (MNF) for the upcoming election.
Though the Congress leader refused to divulge his next move, MNF office-bearers said Lalzirliana might be switching sides soon.
“We have had several rounds of talks with Lalzirliana on him joining our party. There is every likelihood of him contesting the next polls under our banner,” said MNF chief Zoram Thanga.
“Lalzirliana hasn’t quit the Congress as he would then cease to remain a member of the assembly. On the other hand, if he is expelled from the party, he would be free to join any other party,” he added.
Despite the formation two pre-poll alliances by smaller regional parties, the upcoming election is likely to be a straight fight between Congress and MNF, which is part of North East Democratic Alliance (NEDA), the Bharatiya Janata Party-led conglomeration of anti-Congress parties in the region.
First Published: Sep 14, 2018 15:41 IST