ZPM wrests power in Mizoram, new govt likely to assume office soon

IANS Photo

Aizawl, December 4 (IANS) The Zoram People’s Movement (ZPM) headed by IPS officer-turned-politician Lalduhoma secured an absolute majority wresting power for the first time in Mizoram on Monday and delivering a crushing defeat to the ruling Mizo National Front (MNF).

Accepting the defeat, outgoing Mizoram Chief Minister Zoramthanga would be meeting Governor Hari Babu Kambhampati in the Raj Bhavan before the evening to submit his resignation letter.

The ZPM has won 25 seats and is leading in two seats in the 40-member Assembly while the MNF won seven seats and is leading in three seats so far as the counting of votes is underway in different districts.

The opposition Congress, which governed the mountainous border state for many years, was leading in only one seat -- Lawngtlai West seat.

BJP candidate and former MNF Minister K. Beichhua, who joined the saffron party weeks before the November 7 Assembly election, and his party colleague K. Hrahmo won their Siaha and Palak seats respectively. Both the saffron party candidates defeated their MNF opponents.

Former Mizoram Assembly Speaker Lalrinliana Sailo, who quit MNF days before the polls and joined BJP, lost his Mamit seat to the MNF candidate H. Lalzirliana.

In the 2018 elections, MNF bagged 26 of the 40 member-Assembly, while the ZPM got eight seats. The Congress had bagged five seats and the BJP had managed to win one seat in the last elections.

ZPM’s President and party’s Chief Ministerial candidate Lalduhoma in a multi corner contest retained his Serchhip seat defeating his nearest MNF rival J. Malsawmzuala Vanchhawng by a margin of 2,983 votes while most of the prominent nominees of the party were leading in their respective seats.

The IPS officer-turned-politician Lalduhoma, who secured 8,314 votes, was elected to the state Assembly for the second consecutive time.

ZPM Chief Ministerial candidate Lalduhoma after winning his seat told the media that on Tuesday or Wednesday he would meet the state Governor to stake his claim to form the government and the swearing-in ceremony would be held within this month.

MNF candidate and Chief Minister Zoramthanga lost his Aizawl East-1 seat where ZPM nominee Lalthansanga won by a margin of 2,101 votes.

Deputy Chief Minister and MNF candidate Tawnluia also his Tuichang seat to ZPM’s W. Chhuanawma by a margin of 909 votes.

Several other MNF Ministers also lost their respective seats.

State Congress President Lalsawta lost his Aizawl West-III seat to ZPM candidate V.L. Zaithanzama by a margin of 4,582 votes.

Though his party increased the number of seats from one to two, BJP Mizoram state President Vanlalhmuaka lost his Dampa seat to MNF candidate Lalrintluanga Sailo by a margin of 310 votes.

The counting of votes for the Mizoram Assembly polls, held on November 7, began at 8 a.m. amid elaborate security arrangements in all 11 districts of the state.

Additional Chief Electoral Officer H. Lianzela said that initially postal ballots were counted and then the counting of votes polled through the Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) was taken up.

Over 4,000 officials, including women, were engaged in the counting process. These officials were posted at 40 counting halls under 13 centres in 11 districts, the official told IANS.

Director General of Police Anil Shukla said that adequate security measures were in place for the smooth conduct of the counting process. Adequate contingents of Central Armed Police Forces and Mizoram Armed Police have been deployed across the state to maintain law and order.

More than 80 per cent of the 8.57 lakh voters exercised their franchise to decide the electoral fate of 174 candidates, including 16 women.

The ruling Mizo National Front (MNF), the main Opposition Zoram People's Movement (ZPM) and the Congress had fielded candidates from all 40 seats while the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) contested four seats.

The BJP had fielded candidates on 23 seats with a special focus on linguistic minority inhabited areas, especially where the Reang and Chakma tribal communities are in good numbers in the voters' list. Besides them, 27 independent candidates were also in the fray.