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War Room: Mizoram

The Mizoram People’s Conference offers a middle path between Congress and MNF but its capability to lead is yet to be tested. A look at the strategies of different parties, which will matter in the upcoming Mizoram polls.

india Updated: Oct 23, 2013 22:51 IST
Rahul Karmakar

RULING PARTY: congress

SUMMARY: The atmosphere around the party headquarters at Treasury Square, Aizawl, is relaxed. There’s an air of confidence borne out of the party’s connect with the rural areas through a ‘sustainable’ employment-generation programme.

KEY STRATEGISTS: CM Lal Thanhawla,71; Thanhawla’s younger brother Lal Thanzara, 62; finance minister H Liansailova, 71 and home minister R Lalzirliana, 64. No Congress leader in Mizoram towers over Thanhawla, an education department employee-turned-banker-turned-militant-turned-politician who speaks his mind. He runs the poll plan but has deputed much of the organisational work to his brother, a leading contractor who made his electoral debut at the age of 57 in 2008. The finance minister, a former IAS officer and the home minister, whose organisational skills come from his long-term association with the Young Mizo Association, a traditional social organization, are other members.

APPROACH: The party has tweaked its strategies to cater to gen-next by projecting younger leaders, taking preventive measures to check drug addiction and promoting sports as an income-generation opportunity, besides offering financial packages to the unemployed. Thanhawla seems to be pragmatic in accepting the multi-party challenge in the elections. “Mizoram is a small state but the geography is such that we cannot be a one-man show,” he said.

Opposition : Mizo National Front

SUMMARY: The ‘scene’ at the headquarters of these three parties is more frenzied than the Congress.

Key strategists: Former CM and party president Zoramthanga, 69; party vice-president Tawnluia, 70; and senior functionary R Lalthangliana, 57

APPROACH: “We are trying to reinvent ourselves among people drifting away from Mizoram’s past,” said Tawnluia. Apart from promising the poor financial packages fatter than the Congress’ NLUP, the party is trying to appeal to ‘Mizoram’s future’ by drawing upon its contributions.

Zoram Nationalist Party

Key strategists: party president Lalduhawma, 64, and deputy Lialtlinga, 60

APPROACH: “We are relying on our new youth-oriented programmes such as forming a Research and Analysis Wing and a Facebook group to study, understand and discuss youth issues for designing packages, to become a force,” said Lalduhawma.

Mizoram People’s Conference

Key strategists: Party president Lalhmangaiha Sailo, 65

APPROACH: MPC has the onerous task of rebuilding itself under former Indian Revenue Service officer Lalhmangaiha Sailo. Sailo became MPC president in 2011 but in the process other party veterans formed a breakaway party that eventually merged with MNF. “Thankfully, the party has many loyalists,” he said. MPC has been organising music and sports meets to acquaint the youth with the Sailo aura.