Gauwahati: By winning absolute majority in Mizoram, the Congress party not only set an electoral record in the state but also reinforced its hold over the country’s north-east.
No party has ever enjoyed absolute majority in the 40-member Mizoram legislature, since statehood in 1987. In that year, Laldenga’s Mizo National Front (MNF), fresh from a peace accord with the Centre that ended its separatist movement, won only 24 seats. The Congress has won 32 seats this time, five more than the absolute majority mark, as it ousted the MNF.
“This result shows that there’s a limit to fooling the people with big talk and corrupt ways,” said Mizoram state Congress committee chief Lalthanhawla, who won from both South Tuipui and Serchhip constituencies. Lalthanhawla, who has been chief minister thrice before, is set to gather the reins of Mizoram again.
Lalthanhawla said Mizoram’s electorate wanted change to be a part of the Indian dream. “We hope to provide that change,” he said, adding that his party’s sweeping victory was a mandate against what he described as baseless allegations of corruption against him.
The Mizoram victory means a Congress government in four of the eight north-eastern states. It has been out of power in the state for the past 10 years.
The party has an absolute majority in Arunachal Pradesh and a simple majority in Manipur. In Assam, the Congress has 11 seats less than a simple majority and is allied with a Bodo tribal party.
Tripura is overwhelmingly Left-ruled, Nagaland has a Democratic Alliance of Nagaland government, Meghalaya has the anti-Congress Meghalaya Progressive Alliance and Sikkim has the anti-Congress Sikkim Democratic Front.
Mizoram chief minister Zoramthanga said the MNF had tried to provide the best governance in the geographically disadvantaged state. “In the opposition, we shall ensure that the new government is on its toes,” he said before resigning.
A crucial factor in MNF’s rout was that the bulk of some 65,000 first-time voters this time was born after the accord year, and they attached little or no sentimental value to the erstwhile separatist movement in the state.