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|November 20, 1998||
It's a triangular contest for Mizoram
Almost all the 40 seats in Mizoram appear certain to witness triangular contests even though eight political parties have put up candidates for the assembly election.
The main contenders are the Congress, which is trying to retain power, the Mizoram People's Conference-Mizo National Front combine, vowing to regain its past glory, and the United People's Party which has promised to field "clean, god-fearing candidates".
The Bharatiya Janata Party has only a faint presence in the state.
The BJP, which made its debut in Mizoram in the 1993 assembly election, drew a blank. But in Chawngte, considered a Congress citadel, it managed to poll 3,205 votes, raising its hopes for a better performance this time.
The poor state of Mizoram's economy, betrayal of the trust of the voters, and the anti-incumbency factor are haunting the Congress so acutely that Chief Minister Lal Thanhawla is leaving no stone unturned in campaigning in Serchhip, which has returned him four times in a row since 1984.
According to party sources, Lal Thanhawla was reluctant to contest from Serchhip and had set his eyes on Champhai constituency. But Congress president Sonia Gandhi advised him to stick to his constituency.
All eyes are riveted on Aizawl East III constituency as the lone member of Parliament from the state, Dr H A Lallungmuana of the UPP, is opposing Sports Minister John Rotuluangliana (Congress) and H Vanlalauva (MNF) who is supported by the MPC. Last time, MNF candidate F Lalremsiama had won the seat.
As most of the church offices are situated in Aizawl South II, former Union minister and Congress nominee Dr C Silvera may find the going difficult this time.
The constituency, an MNF bastion, has two bigwigs in the fray -- former MP and MNF (Nationalist) president Lalduhawma, now with the UPP, and the former editor of Kristian Tlangau, C Sangzuala. These two are believed to be influential in this Presbyterian-dominated constituency.
Three national parties are making their debut in the state this time. Ramakrishna Hegde's Lok Shakti has put up 15 candidates, the Samata Party 10, and the Rashtriya Janata Dal five.
So far, Defence Minister George Fernandes, Congress president Sonia Gandhi, and BJP politician P Rangarajan Kumaramangalam have visited this tiny hill state for campaigning.
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