Assembly elections 2018: Congress hopes to hold on to its last northeastern bastion in Mizoram

Mizoram assembly elections 2018: Exit polls in the predominantly Christian state where polling was held on November 28 had indicated the 40-member assembly could be hung, with the MNF enjoying a slight edge.
Mizoram assembly elections 2018: Internally displaced Bru Reang tribespeople wait to cross into Mizoram to cast their votes.(AFP file Photo)
Mizoram assembly elections 2018: Internally displaced Bru Reang tribespeople wait to cross into Mizoram to cast their votes.(AFP file Photo)
Updated on Dec 10, 2018 07:04 PM IST
Copy Link
Hindustan Times, New Delhi | ByHT Correspondent

The Congress is seeking an unprecedented third consecutive term in Mizoram, its last citadel in the northeast, even as the BJP seeks to open its account in the state it calls its “final frontier” in the 2018 assembly election. However, the main contest is between the Congress and the Mizo National Front (MNF).

Exit polls in the predominantly Christian state where polling was held on November 28 had indicated the 40-member assembly could be hung, with the MNF enjoying a slight edge. Other parties in the fray like the newly-floated Zoram Peoples Movement (ZPM), an alliance formed by two political parties and four groups, and the Meghalaya-based National People’s Party (NPP) could play a decisive role in such a situation.

Around 80 per cent of the state’s 7.70 lakh voters, over half of which are women, had turned out in the elections, a dip from 83.41 per cent in 2013, when the Congress had won 34 seats, the MNF five and the Mizoram People’s Conference bagged one seat.

Also read | Mizoram polls: BJP looks to uproot Congress from last bastion in northeast

Click here for full coverage on assembly elections 2018

But in recent months, Congress has suffered jolts as five of those legislators, including party vice-president and home minister R Lalzirliana and Assembly speaker Hiphei, left the party to join rivals. While Lalzirliana and one legislator joined the MNF, Hiphei and another went to the BJP. However, chief minister Lal Thanhawla, 76, who is looking for a third term, has ruled out any anti-incumbency against his government.

The Congress and the MNF have fielded 40 candidates each, while the BJP is contesting in 39 seats, the ZPM in 35 and the NPP in nine.

While the Congress is banking on its New Land Use Policy (NLUP) for the farmers and New Economic Development Policy (NEDP) for unemployed youths, the MNF and the ZPM have promised to re-establish prohibition in the state. The liquor ban, imposed in 1997, was lifted by the Congress government in 2015.

Watch | Confident of seeking fourth term in Chhattisgarh: Raman Singh 

Elections in the Christian-majority Mizoram are usually quiet affairs, due to certain guidelines issued by the Mizoram People’s Forum, a church-sponsored election watchdog. But the campaign this time had reached a high the final week with the visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, BJP president Amit Shah and Congress president Rahul Gandhi.

The Congress and the MNF have ruled Mizoram since 1987 when it became a full-fledged state. Interestingly, no party has been able to form government thrice since that year.

Read | Mizoram assembly election: BJP in centre, state will take Mizoram to new heights, says PM Modi

SHARE THIS ARTICLE ON
Close Story
SHARE
Story Saved
OPEN APP
×
Saved Articles
Following
My Reads
Sign out
New Delhi 0C
Tuesday, December 07, 2021