With just three days left for the Mizoram Assembly elections, Chief Minister Lal Thanhawla Sunday said the Congress is open to form a post-poll alliance with like-minded parties, excluding the BJP and MNF, if the ruling party falls short of majority. He, however, claimed that such a situation will not arise as the Congress will get full majority on its own. In Mizoram, support of 21 MLAs is needed to form a government in the 40-member Assembly, which is going to polls on November 28 and the counting will take place on December 11.
“If like-minded parties come to me and want to support my leadership, then they may (be) welcomed,” Thanhawla told PTI during an interview when asked if the Congress is willing to form a post-poll alliance if it does not get a simple majority. Asked with whom the Congress is comfortable to form an alliance, he said, “I don’t know at this moment. But certainly not the BJP, certainly not the MNF. Let the time come.” Refusing to predict a number, the senior Congress leader said his party will get a comfortable majority. “I am quite confident that I will continue to be in power and I will hold the fort for the Congress (in North East). All indications are there,” he added.
Mizoram is significant for the Congress as it remains the only state under the party’s rule in the region compared to as many as five just about two years ago, which included Assam, Meghalaya, Arunachal Pradesh and Manipur. Thanhawla said there is no difference in the campaign this time compared to that in previous two terms as big crowds can be seen in party meetings and “large number” of people are joining the Congress. When pointed out that senior ministers and political leaders have left the party in the last two months, he said, “I don’t see any worker leaving my party at this stage. But unwanted and corrupt people have left. Congress workers are very grateful and they are much inspired because these corrupt people have left the party.”
At least five Congress MLAs have resigned from the Assembly and the party in the run-up to the polls and joined either the BJP or the Mizo National Front (MNF). Those who have resigned include state’s Home Minister R Lalzirliana, former Health Minister Lalrinliana Sailo, former Fisheries Minister Buddha Dhan Chakma and MLA Hmingdailova Khiangte.
Besides, Mizoram Assembly Speaker Hiphei resigned earlier this month. Asked about anti-incumbency factor as alleged by the opposition MNF, Thanhawla said, “Not all. Only MNF is feeling anti-incumbency factor. They don’t have anything to point fingers at me — no scandal, no misuse (of funds). How can they say anti-incumbency wind is blowing in Mizoram? It’s only their wishful thinking.”
On MNF President Zoramthanga’s comment that all roads of Mizoram are in “ICU”, the chief minister said: “He is a good speaker. His mouth speaks a lot. He has a big mouth. I have seen my roads. I have travelled my roads. So, who is telling lie and who is telling the truth, you can easily differentiate and know. Lies do not have legs. They fall on the waste side.”
The Congress has been in power in Mizoram since 2008 and is eyeing a third consecutive term. In the 2013 elections, the Congress had won 34 seats, while the MNF got five and the Mizoram People’s Conference one. The ruling party had improved its tally in 2013 elections from 32 in 2008. This time, both Congress and MNF are contesting all the 40 constituencies this time, while BJP is fighting in 39 seats.