Sinlung /
31 March 2014

A Triangular Battle For A Lone Mizoram Seat

By Himanshu Kapoor

With a lone Lok Sabha seat, the General Elections in Mizoram would be a triangular one. After the withdrawal of candidature by Independent candidate Vanlalngaia, only three candidates are in the fray. The ruling Indian National Congress has fielded sitting MP CL Ruala and United Democratic Front, an alliance of eight opposition parties, has fielded Robert Romawia Royte, while the newly floated and contesting election in the state for the first time Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) has given ticket to a retired IAS officer M Lalmanzuala.

The Congress party bagged the lone seat in the 2009 LS polls and also in the recently concluded assembly elections in the state the results were in favour of the incumbent Congress after it was mauled in other four major states. However, that significant win few months back for the INC cannot for be foreseen as sure shot victory in the small state of Mizoram.

  There is also no Modi wave in the state for the Congress party to worry about and the BJP’s prime ministerial candidate’s lack of attention to Mizoram highlights how unrepresentative the BJP is. Modi, who has been attacking the Congress and wooing the electorate in other northeast states in his rallies didn’t even hold a single public meeting in Mizoram.

In this scenario the advent of the Aam Aadmi Party (Party of the Common Man), launched only six months ago, is very important. The newly formed party garnered more than 33 percent of the votes in Delhi and in LS polls in Mizoram it can as a spoiler for the Congress. But AAP’s recent criticism will put skepticism in people’s mind.

Also the candidate chosen by the AAP is yet to prove himself. Retired IAS officer Lalmanzuala had unsuccessfully contested the state assembly polls in 2008 as an Independent from Aizawl North-I seat. Despite an anti-Congress wave in the country over the corruption issues, the party’s Ruala has an image of being a clean politician and is also the poorest among the three candidates in the fray, with Rs 5 lakh in hand.

Election Commission's decision to allow tribal refugees in Tripura's relief camps to cast their votes through postal ballots for the lone Lok Sabha seat from Mizoram saw protests against it. The protesters, led by the Young Mizo Association (YMA) members demanded the poll panel to revoke its decision.

Even Mizoram Chief Minister Lal Thanhawla had urged Chief Election Commissioner VS Sampath to not allow the tribal refugees, living in seven relief camps, to exercise their franchise in deciding the fate of the state’s Lok Sabha seat.

Now with existence of the Aam Aadmi Party in the state and only one seat up for grabs, the elections in Mizoram are not predicative. Though the scales are leaning towards Congress who fresh off the victory might retain the lone seat.


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