Electorates in Mizoram sealed the fate of 209 candidates for the 40-member Mizoram Assembly on November 28. The major political parties in the state – the ruling Congress and the Mizo National Front (MNF) – contested on all 40 Assembly constituencies and the exit polls have predicted a neck-and-neck contest in the northeastern state. While Chief Minister Lal Thanhawla is confident of retaining power in the state, the MNF, led by Zoramthanga, is putting up a fierce opposition.
Though it is primarily a two-corner contest between the Congress and the MNF, the possibility of a hung Assembly is looming large. This has led to new names emerging as possible CM contenders in the state.
Here’s a look at key leaders who may become the next Chief Minister of Mizoram:
1. Lal Thanhawla - Congress leader contesting from Serchhip, Champhai South
Lal Thanhawla of the Congress party is the incumbent Chief Minister of Mizoram. He took the oath of office after securing a thumping majority in Mizoram Assembly elections in 2013. Under his leadership, the party had won 34 out of the 40 Assembly seats. Thanhawla’s rise in the Mizoram polity came in 1973 when he was elected the president of the Mizoram Pradesh Congress Committee. He became the Chief Minister of Mizoram in 1988 and then went on to get re-elected in the 1989 and the 1993 elections. Apart from politics, Thanhawla has been actively involved in sports and philanthropic services. He is contesting from Serchhip and Champhai South constituencies.
2. Zoramthanga - MNF leader contesting from Aizawl East-I
Zoramthanga is a former chief minister of Mizoram and the chief of the Mizo National Front (MNF). He remained the chief minister of the state for two consecutive terms, from December 1998 to December 2008. He is said to be the second-in-command to state’s first CM and MNF founder Laldenga during the secession movement of Mizo National Front. He actively participated in the Mizo freedom movement. He was also arrested during the movement. In the 2008 elections, Zoramthanga contested from North and South Champhai constituencies where he lost on both the seats. In 2013 again, he lost the East Tuipui seat to Congress candidate T Sangkunga. The MNF party president is now trying his luck at Aizawl East-I seat.
3. Lalduhoma - Zoram People’s Movement leader contesting from Serchhip, Aizawl West-I
Pu Lalduhoma is among the political heavyweights from Mizoram. He is the founder and president of Zoram National Party. He was first elected as a Member of Parliament as a member of the Congress party in 1984. Lalduhoma later parted ways with the Congress and launched a political front called Mizo National Union. He even joined the Mizo National Front later in his career, but did not stay with the party for long. He broke away to form Zoram Nationalist Party and got elected as an MLA in 2003. In the 2018 Assembly elections, Lalduhoma is spearheading a non-Congress and non-MNF alliance called Zoram Peoples Movement. In case of a hung Assembly, he may have a crucial role to play.