The exit polls for Mizoram on 7 December have predicted major gains for the Mizo National Front (MNF) with the Congress losing its remaining stronghold in the northeast bastion.
The 40-seat Assembly has a majority mark of 21. Times Now-CNX has predicted 16 seats for the ruling Congress, 18 for MNF and allies, and six for other parties. Similarly, the Republic-CVoter survey has predicted 14-18 seats for the Congress, 16 to 20 seats for the MNF and three to seven seats for the Zoram People's Movement.
The Christian-majority state has always had Congress in power since it became a full-fledged state in 1987, except for a 10 year gap: 1998 to 2008.
Out of the 209 candidates in fray, the key ones who contested the election are:
The chief minister will be contesting from Serchhip seat and the remote Champhai South. Belonging to Congress, the 79-year-old will be fighting to retain control over the state after being in office for 10 years.
Thanhawla has served as the chief minister five times, and is among the prominent names in the state’s political circles.
The Mizo National Front president filed his nomination from the Aizawl East I constituency. He served as the Mizoram chief minister for two consecutive terms till 2008, when the Congress government took over. In the 28 November election, the 74-year-old is vying for a comeback. His confidence stems from the “anti-incumbency” wave and the fact that no government in the state has completed more than two consecutive terms.
MNF leader Vanlalzawma is the Leader of Opposition in the Mizoram Assembly. The party treasurer and former Lok Sabha member will contest from Aizawl West-III seat again.
Lalzirliana was the first of five leaders who quit Congress during the past two months and resigned from the House. Before his exit, Lalzirliana was serving as the home minister in the Thanhawla cabinet. He stepped down as a minister on 14 September in protest of the government's refusal to create a separate Saitual district comprising his home turf Tawi. He will contest again on an MNF ticket from Tawi constituency.
The former health minister, who recently switched over to MNF, resigned from the state Assembly on 3 October and also stepped down as the member of the All India Congress Committee (AICC), general secretary of the Mizoram Congress committee and primary member of the ruling party on the same day. He will be contesting from the Chalfilh seat.
Buddha Dhan Chakma
The prominent Chakma leader, who resigned as a Congress legislator in October, will be contesting from his home turf Tuchawng on a BJP ticket.
He served as the fisheries minister in the Thanhawla cabinet until August, 2017, when he resigned from the council of ministers over the alleged discrimination faced by some students from the Chakma community while seeking admissions to medical colleges.
He is being seen as one of BJP’s prominent candidates as the saffron party defied the diktat of the NGO Coordination Committee, which had asked parties to not field any Chakma candidates. (The Mizos consider the Chakma “outsiders”.)
The MNF senior vice-president is the former chief of the erstwhile underground Mizo National Army (MNA) and former home minister in the Zoramthanga government from 1998 to 2003 and 2003 to 2008. He will contest from Tuichang seat in Myanmar border Champhai district.
With inputs from agencies
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Updated Date: Dec 10, 2018 20:21:23 IST