Mizoram polls: Regional parties may change the power equation
Silchar: Mizoram, the tiny hilly state of the northeast, is set for assembly election to its 40 member house on November 28.
According to inputs from the capital Aizawl, the emergence of regional parties like People’s Representation for Identity and Status of Mizoram, Save Mizoram Front and Operation Mizoram forming pre-poll alliance together as well as Zoram Nationalist Party and Zoram Exodus Movement aligning with Zoram People’s Movement under one umbrella is all set to change the power equation in Mizoram. In fact, ever since the coming into being of the full-fledged state, there has always been a triangular contest in the elections involving Congress, Mizo National Front and Mizoram People’s Conference.
Presently, Indian National Congress led by Lalthanhawla is at the helm of affairs. Congress also won in the elections of 2008. Prior to that MNF was also in power for two terms in 1998 and 2003. Its chief Zoramthanga rules out any alliance with BJP though MNF is part of the saffron party-led North East Democratic Alliance. It is very difficult at this fluid stage to say precisely about the shape of the pre-poll or post-poll alliance. But, to dismiss BJP as untouchable or of inconsequence is to miss the trees to find the woods. It is relevant to point out when BJP entered into poll battle in this Christian state in 1993, many eyebrows were raised in political circles.
BBC in its news bulletin hit the political analysts to think how the saffron party could decide its strategy to set foot in the Christian state. But, it became a reality when it contested 10 seats and came second next to Congress. MNF or Mizoram People’s Conference was nowhere in the scene. The constituencies from which it contested are Chakma and Riang dominated in the districts of Lunglei and Lawngtlai. From then on, BJP has remained in the reckoning in subsequent parliamentary and assembly elections. Questions are now being raised which major party will play the lead in forming the government, considering the near possibility of splitting of votes due to the regional parties making their presence felt in a big way.
Leaving aside other power equations, the question is can BJP play a role in power-sharing with non-Congress parties to be at the citadel of governance? MNF might rule out the possibility of forging a tie-up with BJP, but nothing is impossible in politics. The question becomes more relevant in view of the fact that in two other Christian dominated states of Meghalaya and Nagaland, BJP is in power through the pre-poll and post-poll arrangement. Significantly, the saffron party bagged 12 of the 60 seats in Nagaland. The party has the advantage of being in power in Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, and Tripura. Congress has to remain content with Mizoram.
Against this backdrop, BJP stands at a vantage ground as it is also at the center through the Lok Sabha elections are just 6 months away. As of now, regional parties in the state of Mizoram might think it most practicable to hang on BJP and contest the elections. Once in power, with BJP in the coalition, the regional alliance will have the benefits from the Centre to rule well and win the hearts and minds of people or voters. It will be no surprise if North East Democratic Alliance with MNF comes to power. For the time being, BJP leadership, as indicated by Pawan Sharma, in-charge, Mizoram has decided to go it alone.