Congress returns to power in Mizoram after 10 years

December 8th, 2008 - 9:52 pm ICT by IANS  

Aizawl, Dec 8 (IANS) The Congress stormed back to power after a decade in Mizoram, winning 32 seats in the 40-member state legislature Monday. Veteran Congress leader Lalthanhawla is set to become the chief minister of a Congress government in the state for the fourth time.The ruling Mizo National Front (MNF) faced a humiliating defeat, managing to win only three seats.

The Mizo People’s Conference (MPC) and the Zoram Nationalist Party (ZNP) bagged two seats each while the Maraland Democratic Party (MDF) won one seat. The MDF was an ally of the MNF, while the MPC and the ZNP were part of the third front - the United Democratic Alliance.

In a major upset, Chief Minister Zoramthanga lost from both seats he contested - North Champai to Congress opponent and first timer T.T. Zothansanga by 1,248 votes, and was humbled by Congress candidate Jh Rothuma in the South Champai seat.

“This is a verdict for change and a big snub to the 10-year-old misrule and corruption of the MNF government,” 66-year-old Lalthanhawla, the Congress chief ministerial candidate, told IANS. “We are committed to providing a stable government with our focus on development and well being of the people.”

The Congress party has already announced Lalthanhawla’s candidature for the chief minister’s post although it would be formalised after a meeting of the winning legislators on Wednesday.

The MNF accepted defeat. “We accept the mandate and would work like a responsible opposition,” outgoing chief minister Zoramthanga said.

Lalthanhawla, former three-time chief minister and Congress leader, won both seats he contested - the South Tipui seat against F. Lalthanzuala of the ruling MNF by 96 votes, and the Serchhip assembly seat by 952 votes.

Victory celebrations erupted in the state capital and elsewhere with jubilant Congress supporters dancing and singing on the streets.

“This is a great victory as the MNF government swindled millions of central funds meant for Mizoram’s development. The MNF government was indulging in rampant corruption and the people gave them a fitting reply in the vote,” said T. Sailo, a Congress supporter.

The MNF was in power in Mizoram for the last two terms.

In the last assembly elections held in 2003, the ruling MNF secured 21 seats while Congress bagged 12 and seven went to other smaller parties.

Some of the prominent winners are: P.C. Lalthanliana of the Congress won the Lunglei North seat, defeating his nearest MNF rival by 705 votes, while Congress candidate R.L. Pianmawia won the Tuivawl seat. He defeated his MNF rival by 473 votes. Congress candidate R. Lalzirliana won the Tawi seat defeating his nearest MNF candidate by 1,211 votes.

In the Turial seat, Hminhdailova Khiangte of the Congress party defeated his MNF rival by 1,022 votes. Congress candidate H. Liansailova won the Aizawl North seat defeating his MNF rival by 266 votes. Nihar Kanti Chakma of the Congress party defeated his nearest MNF rival in the West Tuipui seat by 1,540 votes, while S, Hiato of the same party won the Saiha seat beating his MNF rival. Congress candidate L. Ralte won the Hachhek seat defeating his MNF rival,

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