The Mizo National Front (MNF) Tuesday scripted a spectacular victory in Mizoram, uprooting the Congress in its last bastion in the Northeast to return to power after 10 years. The MNF won 26 seats in the 40-member assembly, a gain of 21 seats since 2013. The Congress managed to bag only five seats compared to 34 seats it won in the 2013 assembly elections.
MNF president Zoramthanga accompanied by top party leaders met Governor Kummanam Rajasekharan at the Raj Bhavan here in the evening and staked claim to form the government. Party sources said the governor told Zoramthanga that he was yet to receive the official letter from the Election Commission and hoped that he would be able to invite the MNF to form the government by Wednesday afternoon.
"Arrangements are being made for the swearing-in of the new government by Saturday," a source said. No party in the state has so far been able to form a government thrice in a row since 1987 when Mizoram became a full-fledged state. Outgoing chief minister Lal Thanhawla suffered defeats from both the seats he contested, including his home turf Serchip. He also lost from Champai South constituency.
The MNF, previously an underground outfit, had signed the Mizo Accord in 1986 with the central government renouncing secession and violence and its leader Laldenga became the chief minister. The MNF led by Zoramthanga, a former underground, had won the assembly elections in 1998 and 2003. It is now a constituent of the North East Democratic Alliance (NEDA), formed by the BJP.
The MNF bagged 37.6 per cent votes as against 30.2 per cent secured by the Congress. The BJP opened its account in the Christian-dominated state as the party candidate and former minister Buddha Dhan Chakma won from the Chakma-dominated Tuichawng seat in south Mizoram's Lawngtlai district. Chakma had resigned from the Congress.
The BJP, which fielded 39 candidates, secured eight per cent votes. Lal Thanhawla met Governor K Rajasekharan and submitted his resignation, official sources said.
The MNF at a meeting of its newly-elected legislators unanimously elected Zoramthanga as the leader of the MNF legislature party. The Zoram People's Movement (ZPM), a conglomerate of two political parties - the Zoram Nationalist Party (ZNP) and Mizoram People's Conference (MPC) captured eight seats.
The ZPM's performance was commendable as they bagged 22.9 per cent votes. Former Mizoram Assembly speaker Hiphei who resigned from the Congress and contested as a BJP nominee lost from Palak constituency. Former Mizoram home minister R Lalzirliana who defected from the Congress to the MNF won from Tawi seat.
Another former Congress leader and Health minister Lalrinliana Sailo won Chalfith seat as a MNF candidate. F Lalnunmawia of the MNF defeated agriculture minister K S Thanga by a margin of 2,037 votes in Aizawl South-III seat. Another former Assembly speaker, Lalchamliana of the MNF, defeated the Cooperation Minister Vanlalawmpuii Chawngthu in Hrangturzo seat, while Lalrinawma of the MNF retained the Tuikum seat by defeating Sangzela Tlau of the Lalruatkima of the MNF also retained their seats, Siaha and Aizawl West-II, respectively.