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Serchhip, a must-watch constituency

Aizawl: As with past elections, the Serchhip assembly constituency remains a focal point of anticipation in the forthcoming contest for the 40-seat Mizoram Assembly.

This constituency is where the Zoram People’s Movement (ZPM) leader and the party’s aspiring chief ministerial candidate, Lalduhoma, will make his third bid for victory. He had secured it from the Congress supremo, Lal Thanhawla, in the 2018 assembly polls and held onto it in a subsequent bye-election.

The MNF has nominated J Malsawmzuala Vanchhawng, a dynamic figure who transitioned from journalism to enter the political arena. Vanchhawng, a beloved television anchor and former journalist with experience at Doordarshan Kendra in Aizawl and the popular local television channel, ZONET, hails from Thenzawl town within the constituency. He stands as a fresh face in politics, free from any past controversies or baggage.

On the Congress side, R. Vanlaltluanga, who recently aligned with the Grand Old Party after being denied a ticket by the MNF, has stepped into the fray. Like Vanchhawng, Vanlaltluanga also originates from Thenzawl town.

Serchhip assembly constituency, nestled in the heart of Mizoram, has long been synonymous with Congress dominance since the inception of the 30-member assembly in 1972 when Mizoram became a union territory.

The first representative to emerge from this constituency was former minister and speaker, late Vaivenga, who triumphed in 1972 on Mizo Union (MU) ticket. However, the MU merged with the Congress two years later, forging a formidable alliance.

During the zenith of the People’s Conference (PC) era, led by the illustrious former Chief Minister Brig T Sailo, the PC secured the seat in 1978 and again in 1979. The initial administration under Sailo was dethroned by internal party defections, necessitating a fresh election in 1979. In 1978, L. Thanmawii made history as the first woman elected to the state assembly, emerging victorious from the Serchhip constituency. Furthermore, Bualhranga, also from the PC, claimed victory in the 1979 elections.

In 1984, the Mizoram Pradesh Congress Committee (MPCC), under the leadership of its new President Lal Thanhawla, made a resounding comeback to power. With ‘peace’ as its primary platform, Lal Thanhawla secured a win in Serchhip and ascended to the post of chief minister for the first time. 

Except for a singular instance in 1998 when retired engineer K. Thangzuala of the MNF got elected from this constituency, it was Lal Thanhawla who consistently claimed victory. However, he faced a historic defeat at the hands of Lalduhoma in the 2018 assembly polls.

During that election, Lalduhoma, along with seven other independent candidates, emerged victorious, even though the ZPM, founded in 2017, had not yet gained official registration. 

Cognizant of this, 12 legislators from the ruling Mizo National Front (MNF) lodged complaints with the Assembly Speaker, Lalrinliana Sailo, contending that despite his independent status, Lalduhoma had been acting as the leader of the ZPM, substantiating their claims with documented evidence.

After due consideration, Sailo disqualified Lalduhoma in November 2020. However, in the subsequent by-election in early 2021, Lalduhoma made a triumphant return, securing a resounding majority that exceeded the combined votes of all his competitors. This victory significantly bolstered the ZPM’s political influence across the state.

Now, Lalduhoma is steadfastly working to retain the Serchhip seat in the upcoming assembly elections scheduled for November 7. While he remains a popular leader, he may not benefit from the same wave of sympathy votes that propelled him to success during the 2021 by-polls, as he faces a formidable challenge from two fronts.


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