BJP will get zero in Mizoram: Former CM Zoramthanga

Former Mizoram chief minister Zoramthanga.

At 84, Zoramthanga, former Mizoram chief minister, continues to be the most prominent face of Mizo National Front (MNF) that had led the violent Mizo uprising between 1966 to 1986. The rebel leader-turned politicians in the Northeast enjoy the clout to give the national parties a tough fight in the elections.

As BJP contests in 39 of the 40 seats in the November 28 Assembly elections in the Christian-majority Mizoram and promises a change, in an early morning interview at his residence at Ramhlun Veglei, Aizawl on Thursday told DH’s Sumir Karmakar that change in Mizoram means MNF, not BJP. Zoramthanga took the mantle of MNF after the death of its founder Laldenga and served as chief minister twice from 1998 to 2008.

Excerpts:

How confident are you this time?

Well, I believe out of the 40 seats we may get 25 to 30 seats with a comfortable majority. We will form the next government.

MNF lost two elections in 2008 and 2013. What makes you confident of a comeback this time?

We lost because of rigging, EVMs were manipulated in the manufacturing stage. A total of 1,500 manipulated EVMs were specially ordered for Mizoram as Congress was ruling both at the state and the Centre. We got three seats in 2008 and five in 2013. The special EVMs were cancelled after we complained to high court before 2014 Lok Sabha polls. This time, it will not be rigged because of the VVPAT system. The strong anti-incumbency against 10-year Congress rule will help us now. Congress has miserably failed to improve the economy, roads are in ICU. The NGOs and churches are against Congress due to lifting of prohibition on liquor. Many of their leaders — home minister, Speaker and ministers joined MNF and so there is a big political wave in favour of us.

BJP is also talking about a change in Mizoram.

Change means from Congress to MNF, not BJP. If they (BJP) gets three seats, they will be fortunate. I think they will get nil. Because BJP winning a single seat in a Christian state is a problem.

Many are saying that MNF will join hands with BJP to form a coalition government after the polls.

No. We are sure to get absolute majority and so no need will arise for that. We cannot join hands with BJP as we are ideologically different. We are 100% Christian and BJP is a party of Hindutva ideology. We joined NDA and NEDA as we will never join UPA or Congress. That is at the central level but at the state level, we will not work with the BJP. I doubt they (BJP) will get even one seat in Mizoram.

In case MNF falls short of the majority and BJP gets a few seats, will you also not join hands then?

That is a hypothetical question but my answer is when my wife is healthy and alive, there is no need to find another girlfriend as a substitute of my wife, thinking she may die.

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BJP will get zero in Mizoram: Former CM Zoramthanga

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