Mizoram | Politics of defection begins as elections inch closer

Mizoram | Politics of defection begins as elections inch closer

AIZAWL, October 6, 2018

As the Mizoram elections are inching closer, the politics of defection has begun in the state.

Mizoram will go in to elections in two months' time and defections have already made their way into headlines.

Two former Congress stalwarts – Lalzirliana and Lalrinliana Sailo – defected to opposition Mizo National Front (MNF) on Friday. Lalzirliana had resigned last month as the state's home minister; Lalrinliana as an MLA. He is a former health minister.

The defection of ruling party lawmakers to opposition parties has become a growing trend in the Northeast in recent years. It happened in Assam, Manipur and Tripura ahead of elections in the three states. The only difference in Mizoram is that the two Congress biggies had not defected to the BJP.

Sailo told reporters he had quit as the government refused to create a separate district comprising his constituency Tuchang. Lalzirliana had a similar reason.

The MNF is confident that the Congress duo's defection would give a shot in the MNF's arm.

"We will be greatly benefitted by their joining. In the case of Mizoram, a common opinion is that MNF will form the government this time around. We are hoping to get not less than 25 of the 40 seats," MNF vice president Dr. Thangtea told TNIE.

He said a number of BJP leaders and former Congress ministers and MLAs would defect to MNF in the next few days.

"We are getting feelers also from sitting Congress ministers and MLAs. However, at this stage, we are not a position to give tickets to them. If they had made up their minds earlier, we could have, possibly, accommodated them," he said.

He also said that it was for the first time that the Congress in Mizoram was battling dissidence.

A day after the BJP had asserted that it would go it alone in the polls, Dr. Thangtea said the MNF would also like to fight the polls singlehandedly.

"Although we are partners in (non-Congress) North East Democratic Alliance, we are not working together in Mizoram. BJP and MNF will contest the elections separately…

"BJP will, at the most, get two to three seats as Mizoram is a Christian-majority state. They also do not have good leaders. As such, misunderstanding is very common among their leaders. If they had dynamic leaders, they could have done well," Dr. Thangtea said.

Asked about possible BJP-MNF post-poll alliance, he said, "This is beyond our imagination".

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