Mizoram election 2018: A political group banks on ‘godliness’ to win polls

Zoram Thar or New Mizoram, which is not a recognised political party, has fielded 18 candidates in 23 constituencies, with some candidates contesting from more than one constituency.

mizoram elections Updated: Nov 28, 2018 08:29 IST
Sadiq Naqvi
Sadiq Naqvi
Hindustan Times, Guwahati
Mizoram Election 2018,Mizoram Election 2018 News,Mizoram Constituency
Zoram Thar or New Mizoram, which is not a recognised political party, has fielded 18 candidates in 23 constituencies, with some candidates contesting from more than one constituency. (AFP )

A political group in Mizoram is banking on “godliness” to win the November 28 assembly polls in the Christian majority hill state.

“We are not asking people for votes. We are merely saying if you stand for truth, for godliness, then stand by us,” said Zaichhawna Hlawndo, president of Zoram Thar, a political group which shies from calling itself a political party.

Zoram Thar or New Mizoram, which is not a recognised political party, has fielded 18 candidates in 23 constituencies, with some candidates contesting from more than one constituency.

For Live updates on Mizoram election, click here.

Read: In a first, all Mizoram polling booths to be covered by wireless technology

Among the five woman candidates the group has fielded are Hlawndo’s two evangelist daughters Lalhrilzeli, and Lalruatfeli.

All the candidates are contesting as independents but on a common symbol — a ring. “It signifies a vow, a commitment. It is a commitment between the voters and god,” Hlawndo said.

Hlawndo is contesting from two constituencies, Aizawl West I and Serchhip, where he faces chief minister Lal Thanhawla of Congress.

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“We are not against any political party or political leader. I prayed to god and asked where should I contest from, and he told me I should go to Serchhip,” Hlawndo said, but did not explain his second choice Aizawl West I.

“We are just a group of people, we are servants of god,” said Hlawndo, who was a lecturer in a Bible college in the UK and a pastor before he returned to Mizoram.

“I had a revelation back in 2012 and god told me I should return to my native place. God said he will transform and reform the native place,” said Hlawndo, describing how he returned to Mizoram in 2016 and took the plunge into politics.

An earlier version of Zoram Thar was founded in 1993 and it had contested the 1998 Assembly polls.

Read: BJP looks to uproot Congress from last bastion in northeast

The group has a 10-point agenda to transform Mizoram, with ‘Church reforms’ on the top of its priorities. “People follow different denominations. There is one god. We need to be united. We want a church council,” Hlawndo said.

Yet, Hlawndo said he does not want to promote Christianity. “It is just godliness that we want to spread,” he said.

Prohibition in Mizoram is another of his priorities. “The Bible prohibits drunkenness. Why do people need to consume alcohol when there are other options like orange juice and apple juice?” he asked.

A church leader said he had “just heard about the new group” and said he was not sure if they would make a dent.

A government official in Aizawl said the group is at best a fringe which will manage a few hundred votes.

But Hlawndo is confident. “God promised he is going to bear the nation. We will win 21 seats. And if god says you will be the chief minister, I will take it,” he said.

For full coverage on Mizoram assembly elections, click here.

First Published: Nov 28, 2018 07:24 IST