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Liquor ban lift, anti-incumbency pushes Congress out of power in Mizoram

Liquor ban lift, anti-incumbency pushes Congress out of power in Mizoram

GUWAHATI: The stage is set for a comeback of the Opposition Mizo National Front (MNF) after a gap of ten years defeating the ruling Congress, which was fighting a strong anti-incumbency factor even as the BJP made inroads into the Christian dominated state for the first time by wining one seat.

Although the final results are yet to be announced, the MNF has already secured 16 seats and leading in another seven seats, while the ruling Congress could win only four seats and leading in another three seats so far.  Some other parties have managed to win five seats so far while the BJP is also leading in one seat

While the ruling Congress is facing strong anti-incumbency factor due to poor infrastructure development in the state, massive corruption allegation and failing to address the growing unemployment problems, the MNF led by former rebel Zoramthanga seems to have scored well this time by assuring to impose a total ban on liquor sale—a stand supported by majority of the organization in the Christian dominated state and by the Churches, which plays a major role in the elections in the state. 

The MNF went to the polls this time against the ruling Congress’policy of lifting the liquor ban in 2015 and slammed the ‘bias’ of new land use policy implemented by the Congress government. The Congress on the other hand tried to highlight the religion based politics of the BJP in the Christian dominated state in the form of upholding the united Mizo nationality.

The Congress that came to power in Mizoram 2008 lifted a 17-year-old total ban on liquor since 1997. The ruling Congress justified that the lifting of the liquor ban has not only increased state’s revenue but also reduced liquor related deaths across the state.

 The MNF, on the other hand, promised to impose a total ban on consumption of liquor in the Christian majority state, a move that helped the regional party in getting the support of the Churches, which plays a major role during the elections in Mizoram.

The ruling party also suffered as several heavyweights including former Mizoram Home Minister R. Lalzirliana, who was also the vice president of the Pradesh Congress Committee (PCC), former ministers Lalrinliana Sailo and Buddha Dhan Chakma resigned from the ruling party. While R. Lalzirliana and Lalrinliana Sailo joined MNF, Chakma joined BJP.

The MNF had also highlighted massive corruptions in implementation of the new land use policy, a scheme implemented by the Congress government,which according to the MNF had, benefited only Congress leaders and sympathizers.

The Congress had won 34 out of the 40 seats in 2013 assembly polls and 32 seats in 2008 polls in the hill state. The MNF had also ruled the state for 10 years since 1998 till it lost to Congress in 2008.


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