Elections Results: Counts and Accounts
The election results of the 9th Assembly of Mizoram are important for the state. In the electoral history of the state, there has never been a situation of fractured mandate and formation of a coalition government. For the first time, the binary politics of Congress-MNF has come to an end in the state. For the first time in the state, the 35-year-long tradition of forming a two-election government between Congress and MNF has ended. For the first time in state politics, a new and third political party has got a clear mandate to form the government. This time, 6 year old party Zoram People’s Movement (ZPM) has got the mandate to form the government. ZPM had won 6 seats in the 2018 assembly elections and MNF had won 27 seats. This time ZPM has won 27 seats and MNF has won 10 seats. ZPM’s storm also swept away Chief Minister Zoramthanga’s Aizawl East-1 seat. Nganlianchung has won the only seat for Congress from Longtlai West Rural. BJP has won 2 seats. BJP has increased its seat count from 1 to 2 but Congress has reduced its seat count from 5 to 1.
Women broke the Myth of Male-politics
ZPM got 37.86 percent votes, MNF 35.10 percent, Congress 20.82 percent, BJP 5.06 percent and Aam Aadmi Party, NOTA and independents got a total of 1.14 percent votes. BJP has become the third largest party in the state in terms of seat numbers but in terms of votes it is at 4th place after Congress. For the first time in the 35-year history of the state, 3 women MLAs have been elected to the assembly. 2 women from ZPM – Lalrinpuii from Lunglei East seat and Baryl Wenneihsangi from Aizawl South 3 seat have won the election and 1 woman from MNF Prova Chakma has won from Tuipui West seat. Prova Chakma has defeated BJP candidate in the elections. ZPM’s female candidate Baryl Venneihsangi has defeated the ruling MNF candidate and Rajya Sabha member. However, in 2014, a Congress woman candidate won a by-election and entered the Assembly after 27 years. This time a retired Lieutenant Colonel, a Professor and a Football player have won the elections from ZPM party. Baryl Venneihsangi is a TV anchor turned politician. The 9th Mizoram Assembly the oldest MLA is Lalduhoma who is 74 years old and the youngest is Baryl Venneihsangi who is 32 years old. The first woman MLA from Mizoram Chakma Buddhist tribe community has been elected.
Losers and Winners of Elections
In Mizoram, whenever the ruling party loses elections, the defeat starts with the Chief Minister, hence the Chief Minister Zoramthanga has lost his seat to the ZPM’s wave. ZPM has won all 12 seats in Aizawl city, 4 seats in Lunglei and all 3 seats in Serchhip. MNF has won all 10 seats in rural areas. In which BJP has snatched one seat from Chakma region. Congress and BJP have won seats in Saiha and Lawngtlai districts of South Mizoram. BJP has won 2 seats in Saiha district and Congress has won one of the two seats in Longtalain district. BJP has won both the seats of Mara tribal community and Congress has won only one seat from Lai tribal community area of Lawngtlai district. Chakma Buddhist tribe has stood second on 2 seats. Last time, one of these two seats was won by Dr. BD Chakma of BJP who did not contest the elections this time but BJP has lost his seat. BJP finished second on two seats – Tuichawng and West Tuipui and lost one seat, Mamit seat, by a very narrow margin. BJP has lost to MNF on these three seats.
Challenging Party and Government Affairs
Apart from this, these elections are important for political parties in many ways. The ruling MNF has not been able to return to power for the second consecutive time. ZPM has created an important history in the politics of Mizoram by coming to power for the first time from the main opposition. Congress has fallen from its throne to the floor in state politics. State Assembly elections 2023 have become historic as maximum fall for Congress and maximum rise for BJP. Now the biggest question is how the opposition group will challenge Zoramthanga’s dominance in MNF. It will be challenging for Lalduoma to keep the two factions of ex-Congress and ex-MNF leaders together in ZPM too. The leadership of current party president Lal Sota will face a serious challenge from the supporters of former Chief Minister Lal Thanhola in the Congress.
Poll Posters and Promises
This election is important for politicians in many ways. The wait for Lalduhoma, who has been waiting for the Chief Minister for the longest time in the state, is over. If ZPM had not come to power this time, the politics of party leader and Chief Ministerial contender Lalduhoma would have been eclipsed. The political innings of MNF party leader and Chief Minister Zoramthanga has come to an end and this election has proved to be the last for him. The political journey of Congress President Lalsota has ended. Due to the defeat of BJP’s new leader Lalrinliana Sailo in the elections, the condition and direction of his future politics has become uncertain. ZPM leader and proposed new Chief Minister Lalduhoma, while talking to the media after winning the elections, said that zero tolerance on state corruption, bringing about financial reforms, balanced development in the state and investigation of corruption cases by CBI are the main priorities. The urban public has given immense support to ZPM to make Lalduhoma the Chief Minister. ZPM has got a big mandate on the basis of a serious promises of providing a new governance system in the state, people’s government, developing new financial resources and new sources of revenue. Promises have been made to bring big schemes like affordable education for the youth, sustainable employment and new farming for the farmers.
The Way Forward: Challenges and Chances
The urban areas of the state – Aizawl, Serchhip and Lunglei, but the biggest responsibility will be to fulfill the big election promises made to the voters. There was widespread discontent against the MNF in these urban areas and anti-government sentiment against the ruling MNF was widespread. The biggest challenge for the new government will be to bring financial mismanagement under control in the state. The ruling ZPM is likely to join the BJP led North East Democratic Alliance (NEDA) and NDA as the state of Mizoram is dependent on the BJP led central government for its economic needs, hence any party (whether MNF or ZPM) in Mizoram forms its government; it has to compromise and harmonize with the ruling party at the Centre.
BJP is putting pressure on ZPM to include one of its 2 MLAs, especially Dr Beichhua, as a cabinet minister in the government. Along with its Christian politics, ZPM will also have to maintain coordination with the Hindu politics of BJP. Church organizations have influence on the politics of Mizoram and the Church has interference in the political affairs of the state. Two BJP MLAs are from the Christian Mara community and they will face the challenge of forging a rapport with the BJP’s Hindutva ideology and also with the ZPM government in the state. In Mizoram, ZPM’s stand regarding the displaced Chin-Kuki people of Manipur and Myanmar will be similar to that of MNF because there is a consensus on this matter among parties other than BJP in the state.
Suwa Lal Jangu, Assistant Professor of Political Science, Mizoram University, Aizawl