Wednesday, Dec 03, 2003
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By Barun Das Gupta
The Mizoram Chief Minister and Mizo National Front leader, Zoramthanga.
The results of 39 of the 40 seats, for which elections were held on November 20, are out: election was countermanded in one constituency Suangpuilawn.
The MNF has retained not only power but also the 21 seats that it had in the outgoing Assembly.
The Chief Minister, Zoramthanga, said it ``is the victory for peace, development and our party's policies.''
The only consolation for the Congress, which hoped to come to power after cooling its heels for five years, is that it has been able to double its tally from six to 12.
The Bharatiya Janata Party, which fielded eight candidates and hoped to win "at least'' four seats and become a "deciding factor in Ministry-making,'' failed to open its account.
Another notable result of the election is that the Mizo People's Conference (MPC), which had 11 seats in the outgoing Assembly, has been reduced to three.
The Congress gained at the cost of the MPC. Also, there are no Independents. Earlier, there were two. The former Chief Minister, Lalthanhawla, speaking to The Hindu over the phone from Aizawl, said the Congress was defeated because "all our strongholds in the south were wrested from us by money power.''
Mr. Lalthanhawla who contested from two constituencies Champai and Serchip lost to the Chief Minister at Champai but won from Serchip. Mr. Zoramthanga won the Kolasib seat too.
Mr. Lalthanhawla attributed his own defeat at Champai to the "use of rebels from Manipur and Myanmar who had terrorised the voters'' into voting for the ruling party.
Mr. Zoramthanga called a joint meeting of the MNF executive and the newly-elected party MLAs at his residence at night and said that he would stake his claim to form the new Ministry in 24 hours.
Mr. Zoramthanga is also playing a catalytic role in bringing other militants groups of the northeastern region to the negotiation table.
He has been a strong supporter of the Centre's peace negotiations with the NSCN (I-M) and he had held a few rounds of talks with the Naga outfit's top leadership in Bangkok.
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