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Mizoram polls witness multi-cornered contests


Aizawl: The upcoming election to the 40-seat Mizoram Assembly is witnessing a multitude of multi-cornered contests, promising a riveting showdown in several constituencies. 

The November 7 election is poised to showcase a dynamic political landscape with a staggering number of four-cornered contests in 22 assembly seats, a substantial presence of five-cornered battles in 10 assembly constituencies, and a blend of six-cornered and triangular face-offs in four seats each.

In the fray, apart from the dominant trio of the ruling Mizo National Front (MNF), Zoram People’s Movement (ZPM), and Congress, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) will contest 23 seats, while the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) will compete in four constituencies.

Constituencies such as Aizawl North-III, Aizawl South-I, Serchhip, and Lunglei West are hosting six candidates, reflecting the intense competition. In these constituencies, the BJP, the AAP, or both candidates are in the fray, and when not, independent candidates are stepping into the contest.

In the four constituencies featuring three candidates each, the MNF, ZPM, and Congress are locked in triangular battles. These constituencies experiencing triangular contests are situated along the borders of Manipur and Myanmar, including Ṭawi, Champhai South, East Tuipui, and South Tuipui in the southern district of Hnahthial.

Political analysts predict that the main contenders in this electoral spectacle will be the MNF and ZPM, with the Congress gaining momentum as the grand old party reinvigorates itself following a visit by Rahul Gandhi. 

The BJP also stands a chance to secure two or three seats in minority-concentrated areas, particularly within the autonomous district councils.

The MNF’s electoral narrative centres on development, coupled with its widespread support for refugees from Myanmar and Bangladesh, as well as internally displaced people from Manipur who have sought shelter in the state. 

The party’s unifying slogan, fostering harmony among ethnic Mizos residing in Myanmar, Bangladesh, and Manipur, is expected to bolster its electoral prospects, although analysts warn of a potential anti-incumbency wave working against the MNF.

The ZPM, established in 2017 and having outperformed the Congress in the 2018 assembly polls with eight seats, is emphasizing its ‘Kalphung thar’ or new governance system, which aims for a transformation in the established political order. This approach appeals to those disenchanted with the long-standing bipolar politics dominated by the MNF and Congress, drawing neutral voters to the ZPM’s cause.

However, internal disputes within the ZPM, an alliance of three political parties and additional pressure groups, could emerge as a stumbling block and potentially limit its electoral success.

The conclusion of the era of five-time Chief Minister Lal Thanhawla, who resigned, marked a significant political shift as former Finance Minister Lalsawta took the reins of the Mizoram Pradesh Congress Committee (MPCC). Lalsawta is known for his clean image and financial acumen. Nevertheless, internal issues may continue to plague the party, casting a shadow over his pledges to rectify the state’s financial woes and support the agricultural and labor sectors.

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