Guwahati: Led by 74-year-old former rebel turned politician Pu Zoramthanga who headed two consecutive governments in Mizoram from 1998-2008, the regional Mizo National Front (MNF) stands out in the battle for Mizoram 2018 because of its all-encompassing high decibel campaign focused on targeting the ruling Congress,
The MNF led by Zoramthanga has been sounding very confident in its words and deeds in the run-up to the polls. It feels confident enough not to have any pre-poll alliance with the BJP even though it was a part of the BJP-floated North East Democratic Alliance (NEDA). However, this move has been seen tactical by certain quarters given that a pre-poll alliance with BJP (having its Hindutva ideology) in Christian state like Mizoram is unlikely to augur well for the regional party. Moreover, as the BJP had failed to make much impact in the February 2018 Assembly election held in the Christian state of Meghalaya, it could be reason enough for both the parties to decide against going for a pre-poll alliance.
MNF sources on reiterated that they were fighting the Assembly elections in all the 40 seats on their own, denying any “secret understanding” with BJP.
In all his media interactions and public speaking so far in the campaign trail former chief minister and the MNF president, 74-year-old Zoramthanga has exuded the confidence of securing an absolute majority in the November 28 Assembly elections.
He has stated that the MNF will win 25 to 30 seats this time as he predicts crumbling down of ruling Congress’ in Mizoram this election.
The MNF leader even feels aloud that the necessity for stitching any post-poll alliance with BJP or other small regional parties will not arise as he doubts the capability of the BJP or other small parties to win even one seat in this election.
On his agenda, Zoramthanga said that there was much to do in regard to ushering in development and uplifting the economy. Besides the MNF has flagged the need to improve the road infrastructure to expedite the economic growth. Prevention of liquor sale that has been going on in the state illegally in defiance of the prohibition, is also on top of the MNF’s agenda.
The hill state has seen an election battle primarily between Congress and MNF since the mid-eighties, with the two parties having a fair share of power between 1984 and 2018.
After a decade’s rule by the MNF and Mizoram People’s Conference (MPC) combine since 1998, Congress returned to power in 2008 by bagging 32 seats and again in 2013 by winning 34 seats in the 40-member House.
Apparently, internal bickering and the anti-incumbency factor have haunted the Congress in the run-up to the polls much to the gain of the MNF. The resignation of home minister R Lalzirliana and another cabinet Lalrinliana Sailo from Congress before elections to join the MNF was a major setback for the ruling party.