Mizoram Congress feels the heat as saffron footprint expands

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AIZAWL, MARCH 6: As the saffron footprint grows in the Northeast, the Congress Government in Mizoram is beginning to feel the heat. The party has been in power in the state for 10 years. Assembly election in the last Congress bastion in the Northeast is due by December this year.
“Congress may still emerge as the single largest party, mainly owing to a weak opposition, the Mizo National Front (MNF),” a political analyst said. The pattern is no different from Manipur or Meghalaya, where it was the single largest party. In both states, however, it could not form the Government since it could not win over other parties to its side.
In Christian-majority Mizoram as well, MNF is a constituent of the BJP-led North East Democratic Alliance (NEDA) and it would not be surprising if it ties up with BJP before or after the election. MNF had been in power for 10 years since 1998 but was widely seen as having failed on the governance front. The development agenda, consequently, might be a little difficult to convince voters of.
The presence of the 2-party alliance of Zoram Nationalist Party and the Mizoram People’s Conference under the banner of Zoram People’s Movement could also eat into the voter base of MNF.
In addition, Chief Minister Lal Thanhawla’s support base has been eroding. Soon to turn 80, he has been grooming his brother PWD Minister Lal Thanzara to take over as the state Congress committee chief. Party leaders, however, are sceptical about his ability to lead the party. Meanwhile, there were reports of state Congress committee vice-president and Home Minister R Lalzirliana not giving space to Lal Thanzara to take over. Lalzirliana has reportedly not expressed any wish to take up the mantle of Chief Minister himself, but he is said to be backing Finance Minister Lalsawta as the chief ministerial face. (TNN)