Mizoram elections 2018: MNF confident of forming govt in Mizoram alone; Congress aims for simple majority
Mizoram elections 2018: The BJP and ZPM hope to prove crucial in the formation of next government in Mizoram, which is the last bastion of the Congress in the northeast and the only state where the saffron party is not in power or is part of the ruling coalition.
Mizoram has never witnessed a hung assembly but exit polls conducted after the November 28 assembly election to elect 40 new legislators say it could have one this time.
Most of them have predicted a hung assembly with Mizo National Front (MNF) edging the ruling Congress, which has been in power since 2008, to emerge as the single largest party.
An exit poll by Republic TV-CVoter shows a hung house in Mizoram, the last bastion of the Congress in the northeast, with an advantage for the opposition Mizo National Front (MNF) in the 40-member House. The CNX - Times Now poll also predicted a hung House with 18 seats for MNF and 16 for Congress and 6 for others. All eyes will obviously be on the ‘Others’ category in case of a hung House.
In that scenario, Zoram People’s Movement (ZPM), formed last year after seven small parties came together, and Bharatiya Janata Party, which is expected to open its account this time, will prove crucial in the government formation.
The parties in the fray, however, are debunking the predictions and have expressed confidence of better outcomes than what the exit polls say.
“My belief from the very beginning is that we will get not less than 25 seats and are confident of forming the next government on our own,” said former chief minister and MNF president Zoramthanga.
In 2013, Congress had emerged victorious with 34 seats while MNF, which was in power from 1998 till 2008, had come a distant second with five seats.
“Congress will be reduced to around 10 seats this time while BJP and ZPM would be very fortunate if they get one or two seats each,” said Zoramthanga.
Read more: Vote Share in 2013
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Mizoram is the last bastion of the Congress in the northeast and is the only state where the BJP is not in power or is part of the ruling coalition. Exit polls say the BJP could get two to three seats with the support of minority Chakma and Bru voters, and ZPM may secure five to seven seats.
“We don’t know about the accuracy of the exit polls as they didn’t reach out to voters in interior areas. We hope to cross the secure simple majority of 21 seats,” said Mizoram Congress spokesperson Lallianchhunga.
“In case we fail to get a majority, our state unit president has already hinted at an alliance with like-minded parties, which is most likely to be ZPM. There’s very slim chance of ZPM aligning with MNF,” he added.
The ZPM, which is yet to register with the Election Commission, has fielded 37 candidates, all contesting under the same symbol. Two of its constituents, Mizoram People’s Conference (MPC) and Zoram Nationalist Party (ZNP), have been able to secure wins in past elections.
In 2003, the MPC won three seats and ZNP two. Five years later both parties secured two seats each. In 2013, besides the Congress and MNF, MPC was the only other party that managed a win.
“We expect more than what exit polls say. In my view, we will get anywhere between 15 and 20 seats. As for alliance for government formation, our advisory body will take a call after the results are announced,” said senior ZPM leader K Sapdanga.
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The BJP, which has failed to win a single seat in the Christian majority state despite contesting each election since 1993, is also hoping to win five to seven seats this time.
“I think the Congress would emerge as the single largest party and MNF will come second, but no one will get a majority. In that scenario we can have a tie-up with MNF,” said Mizoram BJP president JV Hluna.
The MNF is part of the BJP-led North East Democratic Alliance (NEDA), an anti-Congress front launched by the saffron party in 2016. But in this election, both parties contested independently.
Counting of votes for Mizoram and four other states will take place on Tuesday.