Aizawl: Congress on Tuesday suffered a humiliating defeat in Mizoram and lost its last bastion in the Northeast after its arch-rivalMizo National Front (MNF) swept the state assembly polls by winning 26 out of 40 seats.
The Congress, which has been in power since 2008 and bagged 34 seats in the last assembly elections in 2013, managed to secure only five seats this time, while Zoram People’s Movement (ZPM), an electoral alliance formed by six parties won 8 seats and the BJP opened its account for the first time in a Christian dominated state by winning 1 seat in a Chakma dominated Tuichawng.
The incumbent Chief Minister and state Congress president Lal Thanhawla, who contested from his home turf Serchhip and Champhai South, has lost both the seats.
In Serchhip, Lal Thanhawla was defeated by ZPM chief ministerial candidate Lalduhoma. He also lost Champhai South to MNF’s nominee TJ Lalnuntluanga by 1049 margin.
The 80-year old Congress leader, who became the chief minister of Mizoram for the fifth time after the 2013 assembly polls, submitted his resignation to Governor Kummanam Rajasekharan in the evening.
MNF chief Zoramthanga made a good come back after losing two assembly polls in 2008 and 2013. He defeated his nearest opponent K. Sapdanga of ZPM by a strong margin of 2504 votes at Aizawl East-I this time.
This time fortune shined over ZPM chief ministerial candidate Lalduhoma as he won two seats- Serchhip and Aizawl West-I. He defeated the incumbent chief minister Lal Thanhawla by 410 margin in Serchhip and also smashed his nearest opponent K. Sangthuama of MNF by a strong margin of 1060 votes in Aizawl West-I.
The BJP, which has been contesting the assembly polls for five times since 1993, has opened its account in a Christian state by winning Tuichawng seat. Sitting Congress legislator Dr. Buddha Dhan Chakma, who quit the Congress and joined BJP defeated his nearest opponent MNF nominee Rashik Mohan Chakma by 1594 margin.
Among the five resigned Congress legislators and ministers, former home minister R. Lalzirliana and Lalrinliana Sailo also won Tawi and Chalfilh on MNF ticket respectively.
Only two sitting Congress legislators- Zodintluanga and C. Ngunlianchunga retained their seats. Zodintluanga was the sport minister, while Ngunlianchunga was Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Science minister in Lal Thanhawla’s cabinet.
No women candidates out of 18 able to win this time.
Meanwhile, Zoramthanga expressed happiness for the victory by winning 26 out 40.
“Even though the figure was not up to the mark as we expect between 25 and 30. But we are satisfied with the result,” he said.
He said that anti-incumbency against the Congress, liquor law, bad roads and the MNF’s Socio-Economic Development Policy (SEDP) are the factors for MNF winning the assembly polls.
Accepting their defeat, Lal Thanhawla said the anti-incumbency factors and liquor law might have been the reason for Congress defeat.
He said that Congress suffered defeat not because of bad performance but due to the desire of the people to test new government.
MNF on Tuesday elected Zoramthanga as the leader of its Legislature party and stake claimed to form government.