Aizawl: Congress party workers were taken aback on Friday after veteran Congress leader and state home minister R. Lalzirliana announced his resignation from the cabinet at the party meeting over internal strife, which has been brewing within the party since long.
Lalzirliana, who was the vice president of the ruling Congress tendered his resignation to Chief Minister Lal Thanhawla, but retained his membership of the party. Lalzirliana’s resignation came two days after the Congress high command served a show cause notice to him over media reports that he is defecting to Congress’ rival Mizo National Front (MNF).
Speaking to reporters before submitting his resignation, Lalzirliana said he was not happy with the party leaders for failing to honour their promises to recognize Saitual area as a full-fledged district. Saitual falls under Tawi, the constituency Lalzirliana represents. He said that the people of Saitual have been demanding district status since 50 years back and the area has all the requisite infrastructures to be implemented as a full-fledged district.
Lalzirliana, who also held the portfolio of Agriculture, Rural Development and Excise & Narcotics said that Congress president Rahul Gandhi and state chief minister Lal Thanhawla had once before the 2008 assembly elections promised the people of Saitual that development would begin from the town and the Congress would implement Saitual district, which was announced by the MNF government if the party (Congress) is voted back to power.
However, Lal Thanhawla led Congress government failed to fulfill its promises during its 10 years rule, he alleged. “I have decided to step down as a minister for I think it is not convenient to be part of the government under such circumstance as I gave due respect to the people of my constituency,” he said.
Why quit now?
The 69-year-old Congress leader from Armed Veng in Aizawl also said in his resignation letter that the reason for his resignation was the Congress government’s failure to materialize its promises in implementing Saitual area as a full-fledged district.
“I find myself in a very awkward position to hold a cabinet post while our government is doing nothing to fulfill the promises we had made. I also gave due respect to the people, who made me part of the government. I, therefore, informed you that I have quit as a cabinet minister on this day of 14 September. But I hope we continue to wholeheartedly work together under Congress,” Lalzirliana said in his resignation letter to the chief minister.
He, however, told the media that he would not contest in Congress ticket unless he is given assurance for the implementation of Saitual district.
Differences with Lal Thanhawla
Sources said that internal differences have been brewing between Lal Thanhawla and Lalzirliana over the creation of Saitual district since long.
Earlier on Tuesday Disciplinary Action Committee of Mizoram PCC served a show cause notice to Lalzirliana and threatened action if he fails to clarify on media reports that he was joining a rival party on or before Friday.
Sources said that the MNF’s nomination committee which met on 4 September included Lalzirliana among the party candidates to be in the fray for the upcoming Assembly elections from Tawi.
The leader said that he felt a deep pain by the actions of the disciplinary committee and alleged that it must have been instigated by top brass of the party to damage him.
He also said that he did not felt the necessity to explain himself before the disciplinary committee about the rumour of his joining the MNF.
Lalzirliana has been elected as a legislator for four consecutive terms from Tawi constituency (formerly Saitual constituency) since 1998.
Meanwhile, some political viewers said the move by Lalzirliana could affect the Congress in the run-up to the state assembly elections, which is due at the end of this year.