With just three days left for the Mizoram assembly polls, a young regional party says it’s confident of making a dent in the ruling Mizo National Front’s (MNF) prospects.
A six-party alliance, the Zoram People’s Movement (ZPM) was formed in 2017 and made its electoral debut a year later. It emerged as the main opposition party in the tiny northeastern state winning eight seats in the 2018 assembly polls, thereby relegating Congress to the third position (5 seats).
The MNF bagged 26 seats and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) just one.The two are constituents of the ruling National Democratic Alliance at the Centre.
ZPM’s chief ministerial candidate Lalduhoma has announced that the outfit will maintain its identity as an independent regional party free from Delhi’s control, and that the ZPM will join neither the BJP-led NDA nor the opposition INDIA bloc if it comes to power in Mizoram.
It looks like the party has taken a strategic position to corner chief minister Zoramthanga’s MNF, which is also asserting its regional identity to retain its voter base.
The ties between the MNF and the BJP have hit rock bottom in the wake of ethnic violence in Manipur. In recent months, Zoramthanga has been giving vent to his discontent against the BJP, whose government he alleged, had failed to stop attacks on Christians in the neighbouring state.
More than 180 people have been killed and thousands displaced in ethnic clashes between Meiteis and Kukis since May 3.
“It’s not the time to be close with BJP,” Zoramthanga told TOI last month. He said working with the saffron party in the Christian-majority state could have a negative impact on the MNF in view of the unrest in Manipur.
Mizoram is currently hosting around 12,000 internally displaced Kuki-Zo people from Manipur, in addition to more than 30,000 refugees from Myanmar and Bangladesh.
The Kuki-Chin-Mizo people inhabiting India’s Northeast, Chin state in Myanmar and Chittagong Hill Tracts of Bangladesh belong to the same ethnic stock. In Bangladesh, the community is known as the Bawm.
Showing its concern for the refugees, the ZPM has promised to give them better treatment than what the present government has done, if it comes to power.
According to Lalduhoma, a former Indian Police Service (IPS) officer, the Manipur factor will affect the prospect of the MNF due to its alliance with the BJP, which allegedly “failed” in handling the situation in the neighbouring state.
The 73-year-old ZPM leader claims his party is confident of winning the upcoming assembly polls but refuses to give the exact figure of seats it will win.
Since 1987 when it became a full-fledged state, Mizoram has witnessed power being oscillated between two parties – the Congress and the MNF. Both have ruled the state for about two decades each.
Lalduhoma says people want a change as they have “lost faith” in the MNF and the grand old party.
Meanwhile, the ZPM, currently the second-largest party in the 40-member Mizoram assembly, on Friday dared the ruling MNF to snap ties with the BJP if the latter was against the saffron party.
Speaking to the media, ZPM leader TBC Lalvenchhunga alleged that the MNF continues to work closely with the BJP as it’s a constituent of the NDA.
The MNF hit back, saying that the ZPM was talking about change and ‘Kalphung thar’ (new system of governance), but their real ambition was to form the next government at all cost, even if it meant forging an alliance with the BJP.
Mizoram goes to polls on November 7 and the counting of votes will be held on December 3.

(With inputs from PTI)

Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *