Mizoram CM-elect to meet Shah, Jaishankar to discuss refugees from Myanmar, B’desh, Manipur

Aizawl, December 6 (IANS): Zoram People’s Movement (ZPM) President and Mizoram’s Chief Minister-designate Lalduhoma on Wednesday said that he would soon meet Union Home Minister Amit Shah and External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar to discuss the issues of refugees from Myanmar, Bangladesh and Manipur’s displaced people, who sheltered in Mizoram.

So far around 32,000 people from Myanmar have taken shelter in Mizoram after the military took over that country in February 2021 and over 1,000 people from Chittagong Hill Tracts of Bangladesh also fled to the northeastern state after the ethnic troubles in the hilly areas.

Besides, around 13,000 men, women and children belonging to the Kuki-Zo community from ethnic violence-hit Manipur also took shelter in Mizoram.

“Our government would try to provide better relief to all the refugees compared to that by the outgoing MNF (Mizo National Front) government,” Lalduhoma told the media after meeting Governor Hari Babu Kambhampati at Raj Bhavan and staking claim to form the new government following his party's victory in the November 7 Assembly polls.

He expressed optimism that the Centre would extend its help to the state government to take care of the refugees as it is a humanitarian issue.

The ZPM supremo and his Council of Ministers are likely to take oath on Friday at Raj Bhavan.

“I had telephonic talks with Shah and Jaishankar on Tuesday. I would soon meet both of them in Delhi to discuss how the Centre and the state government can jointly look after the Myanmar and Bangladesh refugees and displaced people from Manipur,” the IPS officer-turned-politician said.

He said that Jaishankar (former IFS officer) was his batchmate during his service. The septuagenarian leader said his government would maintain good relations with the Centre and the Governor also assured him that he would provide all support to his government.

He said, “Our government would give priority to agriculture and needs of the farmers. We would undertake some projects and schemes for the development of agriculture and economic benefit of the farmers.”

The first session of the new Mizoram Assembly would be convened on December 12. Earlier the Governor handed a letter to Lalduhoma appointing him as the next Chief Minister of Mizoram.

ZPM, formed in 2018, wrested power for the first time in the state by delivering a humiliating defeat to the ruling Mizo National Front (MNF).

The ZPM secured 27 seats in the 40-member Assembly to capture power in mountainous Mizoram, which has been governed either by the Congress or by the MNF since it became the 23rd state of India on February 20, 1987 after the signing of the Peace Accord in 1986.

MNF this time bagged only 10 seats. Meanwhile, the newly-elected MLAs of the ZPM in a meeting on Tuesday night elected Lalduhoma as the legislature party leader. The meeting finalised other matters of government formation.