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Mizoram poll: MNF, Congress tie up with smaller parties

October 24, 2008 11:12 IST

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The ruling Mizoram National Front in the state, which retained power on its own in 2003, has now decided to continue its ties with the Mizoram Congress Party and forge an alliance with smaller political outfits to come back to power for the third consecutive term in the November assembly polls.

Facing a strong anti-incumbency wave after ruling Mizoram for the past 10 years, the MNF has decided to have an electoral tie-up with the Mara Democratic Front in south Mizoram and the Hmar People's Convention in Aizawl district.

The ruling front will also continue its ties with the MCP to secure the magic figure of 21 in the 40-member Assembly, for which the elections will be held on November 29.

The principal opposition party Congress has also entered into an electoral alliance with the Mipui Tangrual Pawl or People's Front by alloting six seats to it.

The MTP, led by Mizoram Journalists Union president K Sapdanga, is an organisation formed by reformists and youths in the state to ensure political reforms and good governance.

Hurdles in a tie-up between the Congress and the MTP was created by a former legislator and MTP leader Bualhranga, who along with Rev Zairema had filed a PIL against former chief minister and present Pradesh Congress Committee chief Lal Thanhawla in 1996 on graft charges.

The case is still pending against Lal Thanhawla in a special court. 

Sources said Congress wanted to have candidates with clean images like two former IAS officers Rualzakhuma and Sailova in the fray, but they refused to contest the elections with the party's support.

The Mizoram People's Conference and the Zoram Nationalist Party are fighting the coming elections under the banner of United Democratic Alliance.

They have projected former chief minister Brigadier Thenphunga Sailo of the MPC and Lalduhoma of the ZNP as its chief ministerial and deputy chief ministerial candidates.

Though smaller parties like the Bharatiya Janata Party and Lok Janshakti Party say that they will be in the fray, political analysts say the contest would be confined to the MNF, the Congress and the UDA.

The MCP was formed three years ago by senior Congress leaders who were not happy with the functioning of Lal Thanhawla. The party was floated by former state finance minister and veteran Congressman John Lalsangzuala.

Two Congress legislators, Saikapthianga and Liansuama, who left the Congress along with the MCP leadership, resigned from the state legislature and were re-elected from their respective seats Kawrthah and Phuldungsei constituencies in 2005 with the support of the MNF.

Saikapthianga re-joined the Congress this year along with Lalsangzuala and other top leaders, after resigning from the assembly, while Liansuama continued to be unattached.

However, L T Zothankhuma and T C Pachhunga refused to re-merge with the Congress and decided to continue its ties with the ruling MNF.

The MNF has also forged alliance with the HPC for votes of the Hmars in the north-eastern part of the state adjoining neighbouring Manipur.

The HPC agreed to support MNF candidates in the area, while the latter promised to fulfill the provisions of the Mizoram government-HPC accord, signed in 1994.

The MNF and MDF are likely to have a seat-sharing arrangement in Saiha district where the two combines are likely to share the assembly seats.

The MPC and ZNP combine had contested the 2003 state assembly polls, but managed to bag only five seats.

Alliances and coalition governments are not new in this tiny hill state.

The first government, after Mizoram attained full fledged statehood in 1987, was formed by the MNF led by the late leader Laldenga after the Mizo Convention and the Mizo Peace Forum merged with the MNF.

The Congress government in 1989 was a coalition of the party and the MNF (Democrats), a break-away group of the MNF and the Congress retained power in 1993 after forging alliance with Brig T Sailo's Mizoram Janata Dal.

The MNF bounced back to power under the leadership of Zoramthanga in 1998 after forging an alliance with Brig Sailo's party -- Mizoram People's Conference.

The MNF retained power in 2003 on its own and formed a coalition with the Mara Democratic Front, which managed to bag a single seat in those polls.

Political analysts predict a hung assembly even after the alliances being forged by bigger and smaller parties as people seem to have been extremely "displeased" with the performances of successive governments.

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