ZPM only genuine regional party in Mizoram; don’t have bosses in Delhi: Lalduhoma | Latest News India - Hindustan Times

ZPM only genuine regional party in Mizoram; don’t have bosses in Delhi: Lalduhoma

Oct 27, 2023 03:14 PM IST

ZPM won eight of the 40 seats in the 2018 polls to emerge as the second-largest party in the Mizoram assembly relegating the ruling Congress to the third spot

Zoram Peoples Movement (ZPM) emerged as the second-largest party in the Mizoram assembly by winning eight of the 40 seats in the 2018 polls. It relegated the ruling Congress to the third spot a year after its formation. As it now hopes to replace the Mizo National Front (MNF) to form the next government, ZPM president Lalduhoma, 73, a police officer-turned-politician, spoke to HT about the opposition party’s prospects. Edited excerpts:

Zoram Peoples Movement leader Lalduhoma. (HT PHOTO)
Zoram Peoples Movement leader Lalduhoma. (HT PHOTO)

How is the campaign going ahead of the November 7 polls?

We announced all our candidates in April. Other parties did so much later. When elections were announced, most of our candidates had completed around 80% of the campaigning. That way we have had a lot of advantages. We have been able to visit all the villages and get to know voters and their needs.

How have the past five years been for the party?

We are growing smoothly. We have done very well in local elections and by-polls. Our party now has a presence across the state and our strength has increased. Leaders from the MNF, Congress, and the BJP are joining us. Our plus point is that voters who are neutral are on our side.

What are the major poll issues for you?

Corruption is one of the main issues. Chief minister Zoramthanga does not have a clean image and due to that MNF will lose. Drug menace is also another important issue. People think that even the chief minister is involved in smuggling.

Will ZPM be able to replace MNF?

MNF claims to be a regional party, but since it is part of the [Bharatiya Janata Party-led] National Democratic Alliance [NDA] government at the Centre and the North East Democratic Alliance in the region, it has lost its identity...originality and sanctity. ZPM is Mizoram’s only genuine regional party. We are not going to let Delhi make decisions on our behalf. We are going to do that here in Mizoram. Other parties have bosses in Delhi. We do not want to be dictated.

How many seats is ZPM expecting?

We are not going to win all 40 seats. Our main contest is with the MNF, which I think will come second. Congress is a spent force and BJP is not a force to be reckoned with. ...we are confident of forming the next government.

How would you respond to Congress leader Rahul Gandhi’s claim that ZPM has an understanding with the BJP?

This is false propaganda. He cannot convince anybody with such statements.

Will there be some post-poll understanding as Union minister and BJP’s Mizoram in charge Kiren Rijiju has said they would not be averse to being a part of the government with the ZPM?

They are making such statements to prevent an exodus from their party. They are propagating this and telling their members not to change and that they will form the government with ZPM. But this is not having any effect. We are sure of forming the next government with a comfortable majority.

Is MNF expected to benefit as Mizoram is hosting ethnic violence-hit people from Manipur as well as Myanmar refugees with ethnic ties with Mizos?

I do not think so. The governments in Manipur and at the Centre are BJP-led. People in Mizoram are unhappy with the way the crisis in Manipur has been handled. There is disappointment about the silence of the Prime Minister on this. Since MNF is also part of the NDA, it will have an adverse effect on them. People who have taken shelter in Mizoram are our brothers and sisters. We all stand with them and everyone including church bodies, civil groups, and parties assisted them, not just the MNF.

What is ZPM’s stand on demands for ending prohibition that MNF reintroduced in 2015?

We do not have any stand on the issue yet. Our party is not the only authority to decide. We have to consult all representatives of people, study it, and then decide.

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