Home / Politics / Policy /  MNF set to stake claim in Mizoram

New Delhi: The Mizo National Front, led by 74-year-old Zoramthanga, propelled back to the centre stage of Mizo politics after a decade in the wilderness as it surged ahead in assembly elections, early result showed.

In 2013, the Mizo National Front (MNF) managed to bag only five seats in the 40-member state assembly. But the MNF stood second to the Congress in more than 20 seats – something the Congress party would have taken note of even as it won 34 out of 40 seats in the Mizoram assembly that year.

With the results so decisively in his favour, Zoramthanga seems set to stake claim to the office chief minister.

According to the Election Commission of India, the MNF won 7 seats and was leading on 15 seats. The results pertained to 37 of the 40 assembly constituencies. The MNF’s vote share has also seen a jump from 28.6% in 2013 when it had won five seats to 37.9% in the current elections.

This also puts a question mark on the Zoram Peoples Movement (ZPM) experiment, despite it contesting 36 out of 40 seats. ZPM comprises seven smaller parties.

An energetic, talkative and dimunitive leader of the MNF, Zoramthanga is a former insurgent and two-time chief minister who in an earlier interview to Mint, dismissed any tie-ups with the BJP.

“This is a Christian State, the BJP doesn’t have any influence here. I don’t see any possibility of a Meghalaya type situation here. I will not need the BJP because there is a wave in favour of the MNF," Zoramthanga said and added, “I am categorically ruling out any alliance with the BJP — even post poll alliance."

His past record -- as chief minister between 1998 to 2008 – he says, speaks for itself.

Starting his career in 1966 when he joined the underground MNF movement and in 1969 became the secretary to the MNF president Laldenga. This was a position he held for the next seven years.

When the MNF formed the government in 1987, Zoramthanga was appointed as the in-charge of the Finance and Education Departments. He was subsequently promoted as the party’s president after the death of Laldenga. And when he led the party to victory in the 1998 assembly elections, he became the chief minister of the state.

This time round, expectations of the people are much higher than before. The youth in the state especially want changes in a hurry – jobs, infrastructure, better education, despite Mizoram already being one of the top states in literacy. Some among the youth feel that leaders like Zoramthanga and outgoing 76-year-old Congress Chief Minister Lal Thanhawla are out of sync with the pulse of the youth. That in itself will pose a major challenge to Zoramthanga’s incoming government.

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