Mizoram results Monday, focus on two regional players 

The single-phase polls, held on November 7, had recorded a voter turnout of 80.43 per cent. MNF, ZPM and Congress were the three key players.
Mizoram Chief Minister Zoramthanga. (Photo | PTI)
Mizoram Chief Minister Zoramthanga. (Photo | PTI)

GUWAHATI: The spotlight will be on the ruling Mizo National Front (MNF) and Zoram People’s Movement (ZPM) when the votes in the Mizoram elections are counted on Monday. 

Counting, originally scheduled for December 3, was deferred by the Election Commission following appeals made by various organisations, churches and political parties in the Christian-majority state which said “Sunday is a day of veneration for the Mizo Christians”.

The single-phase polls, held on November 7, had recorded a voter turnout of 80.43 per cent. 

MNF, ZPM and Congress were the three key players. They contested all 40 seats while BJP contested 23 seats. The results will decide the fate of 174 candidates, including 16 women.

Amid the perception that the polls will throw up a fractured mandate, most exit polls gave an edge to MNF. 

Chief Minister Zoramthanga said MNF did all that it could and now “everything is in God’s hands”. Ahead of the polls, he had stated: “We are confident of forming the next government on our own.”

MNF had wrested power from Congress in 2018 by winning 26 seats. 

Lalduhoma, who is ZPM’s chief ministerial candidate, was confident the party would be able to form the next government on its own.

“I am confident that ZPM will get a majority and form a stable government,” Lalduhoma, who is a former IPS officer, told this newspaper.

Congress said it would accept the people’s verdict. “We will accept whatever number of seats we win,” state Congress president Lalsawta said.

He also said that any decision in the event of a hung House would be taken jointly by the party’s state and central leadership.

A triangular contest among MNF, ZPM and Congress were expected when the state went to elections. The polls were held in the backdrop of the ethnic violence in Manipur and the political unrest in neighbouring Myanmar.

Over 45,000 displaced Kukis from Manipur and Chins from Myanmar were given food and shelter by the MNF government. Mizos, Kukis and Chins are ethnic cousins and they belong to the Zo community. 

Anti-incumbency, underdevelopment, failure to fulfil most promises of the 2018 elections and ZPM’s rise in urban Mizoram were MNF’s major challenges but the Manipur crisis, which is an emotive issue for the Zo tribals, emerged as the ruling party’s lifeline.

Zoramthanga walked along with protestors in solidarity with Manipur’s affected Kukis and reignited the “Zo reunification” dream. In its election manifesto, MNF pledged that the Zo tribals would be united. MNF played the Zo card again when the state government refused to collect the biometric and biographic data of Zo refugees from Myanmar and Bangladesh.

The contest in Mizoram had been invariably between MNF and Congress until ZPM’s emergence in the last election. It had bagged eight seats, the second highest after MNF’s 26. ZPM has grown significantly in urban Mizoram as evidenced by its victory in all 11 seats in the Lunglei civic body elections in March.

Congress is now a shadow of its past self in the absence of charismatic leaders like former Chief Minister Lal Thanhawla. BJP’s focus was on seven seats in the four districts of Lawngtlai, Siaha, Lunglei and Mamit where minority Lai, Mara, Chakma and Bru communities have sizeable populations.

In 2018, BJP won the Tuichawng seat which falls under the Buddhist Chakma belt in Lawngtlai district. The party’s overall vote share was 8.09% with 33 candidates forfeiting security deposits. Mizoram is the only unconquered frontier for BJP in the Northeast.

Total seats – 40
Candidates – 174, including 16 women
Voters – 8,57,063. Male voters 4,18,037, female voters 4,39,026
Key candidates 
MNF – Chief Minister Zoramthanga (Aizawl East-1), Deputy Chief Minister Tawnluia (Tuichang)
ZPM – Lalduhoma (Serchhip), VL Zaithanzama (Aizawl West-III)
Congress – state chief Lalsawta (Aizawl West-III), Lal Thanzara (Aizawl North-III)
BJP – state chief Vanlalhmuaka (Dampa), Lalrinliana Sailo (Mamit)
2018 results 
MNF 26, ZPM 8 (won as independents, ZPM did not get recognition from EC before polls), Congress 5, BJP 1

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