AIZWAL: Mizo National Front (MNF) president Zoramthanga was on Saturday sworn in as Mizoram chief minister.
Governor Kummanam Rajasekharan administered the oath of office and secrecy to former rebel leader-turned-politician Zoramthanga at the Raj Bhavan in Aizawl. He will head a 12-member ministry.
This was the third time that he took oath as the CM after having served in the post for two terms from 1998-2008.
Tawnluia was sworn in as the Deputy CM. Ten others who took the oath were R Lalthangliana, Lalchamliana, Lalzirliana and Lalrinsanga (all Cabinet ministers) and K Lalrinliana, Lalchhandama Ralte, Lalruatkima, Dr K Beichhua, TJ Lalnuntluanga and Robert Romawia Royte (all ministers of state).
Royte is the owner of Aizawl Football Club which won the I-League in 2016 and a businessman. Lalzirliana was the state’s home minister in the Lal Thanhawla government. A few months ago, he had resigned from the Congress and joined the MNF.
The swearing-in ceremony was attended by a host of dignitaries which included Meghalaya CM Conrad Sangma, two-time former Assam CM and Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) stalwart Prafulla Kumar Mahanta and AGP president Atul Bora.
Belying exit poll predictions, the MNF had swept the November 28 elections bagging 26 of the state’s 40 seats, thereby decimating the ruling Congress which managed to win just five seats. The Zoram People’s Movement, which is a conglomerate of some smaller regional parties, won eight seats. The BJP made an entry into the Christian-majority state by winning one seat.
The MNF is an ally of the BJP in the North East Democratic Alliance, which is a conglomerate of non-Congress political parties, mostly regional parties of the Northeast. However, the two parties did not forge any pre-poll alliance. After the landslide victory, the MNF chose not to make it a coalition government.
The 74-year-old Zoramthanga was second in command to Laldenga, the pioneering leader of Mizo insurgency movement who was the MNF chief, during the secession movement.
When the movement started in 1966, Zoramthanga joined it and moved to the jungle. Laldenga engaged him as his secretary and he held the post for seven years. In 1979, he went on to don the mantle of MNF vice chief. After Mizoram attained statehood, Zoramthanga was made a minister in the state’s interim government in 1987.
In 1990, when Laldenga died, Zoramthanga was entrusted with the task of heading the MNF. The party had won the 1998 and 2003 polls with Zoramthanga becoming the CM. However, it lost the two subsequent elections to the Congress.
Zoramthanga was very optimistic about this year’s elections. Ahead of the polls, he had told The New Indian Express: “There are only two main players in Mizoram’s political arena – Congress and MNF. When the Congress is crumbling, there is no alternative to the voters other than the MNF”.
“If we form the government, we will try to put the Christian values, which are not against the Constitution, in place. We cannot make a theocratic government. The social values will be incorporated and implemented,” he had said.
His other promises were the improvement of infrastructure, particularly roads, and re-enforcing total prohibition.