Mizoram polls: This retired IPS officer could be kingmaker

Lalduhoma's Zoram People’s Movement (ZPM), a conglomerate of some smaller regional parties, is likely to get between three to eight seats and to play an important role in next government formation.
Retired IPS officer Lalduhoma. | Express Photo Services
Retired IPS officer Lalduhoma. | Express Photo Services

GUWAHATI: After the exit polls predicted a fractured mandate in Mizoram, the focus is suddenly on a retired IPS officer who had worked with former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi.

It was learnt that the ruling Congress is mulling to go the distance to keep Lalduhoma, the retired IPS officer, in a good humour. As per the exit poll projections, his Zoram People’s Movement (ZPM), which is a conglomerate of some smaller regional parties, is likely to get between three to eight seats. Altogether 37 people had contested as Independent candidates under the ZPM banner.

In the 40-member Mizoram House, a political party will need at least 21 seats to get the simple majority. However, the exit polls predicted that neither the ruling Congress nor the state’s principal opposition party Mizo National Front (MNF) would reach the halfway mark of 20 seats.

A Congress insider said if the polls throw up a hung House, the party might even go to the extent of sacrificing the Chief Minister’s seat to garner the support of Lalduhoma for the formation of a coalition government. 

The Congress is wary of a possible BJP-ZPM-MNF government in the state and it wants to keep the BJP out of power at any cost. Mizoram is the last Congress-ruled state in the Northeast.

There are reports that the Congress and the MNF have already started sending feelers to the ZPM chief. He, however, denied having been approached by any.

“No. Nobody has approached me yet. These are issues which the political parties usually discuss after the election results are out,” Lalduhoma told TNIE.

During poll campaign, he had asserted that the ZPM would not align with any political parties as it would be able to form the government on its own.

Lalduhoma is a known party hopper. After quitting his career in police service, he had joined the Congress in 1984 and was appointed as the vice chairman of Mizoram State Planning Board. 

The same year, he got elected as an MP. 

However, he formed the Mizo National Union which was later merged with the Mizoram People's Conference. 

In due course, he joined the MNF but broke away from it to form the Zoram Nationalist Party. In 2003, he was elected to the Mizoram Assembly.

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