In Mi­zo­ram, Cong banks on mix of old, new faces

Hindustan Times (Amritsar) - - Nation - Ut­pal Parashar ut­pal.parashar@htlive.com

GUWAHATI: Faced with de­ser­tions, anti-in­cum­bency and the grow­ing in­flu­ence of ri­val par­ties, the rul­ing Congress in Mi­zo­ram is bank­ing on a mix of old and new faces to re­tain power in its last bas­tion in the North­east.

On Thurs­day in Aizawl, Mi­zo­ram chief min­is­ter and state party chief Lal Than­hawla re­leased a list of can­di­dates for 36 of the 40 Assem­bly con­stituen­cies.

Can­di­dates for the re­main­ing four will be an­nounced later.

The Congress’s fight will be led by 76-year-old Lal Than­hawla, who plans to con­test two seats -- Ser­ch­hip, his old con­stituency, and Cham­phai South.

Chris­tian-ma­jor­ity Mi­zo­ram will go to the polls on Novem­ber 28. The Congress, in power in the state since 2008, hopes to make it a hat-trick of wins this time around.

“Some peo­ple be­lieve no party can form govern­ment for three con­sec­u­tive terms. We will break that no­tion and make it a hat-trick this time,” Lal Than­hawla told jour­nal­ists in Aizawl.

The party has dropped eight sit­ting MLAs and in­cluded 12 new faces. Those who failed to make the list in­clude se­nior cab­i­net min­is­ter R Ro­mawia, for­mer min­is­ter Lal­rin­mawia Ralte and deputy Speaker Lal­rin­nawma.

Among the new faces are for­mer IPS of­fi­cer LT Hrangchal and for­mer stu­dent lead­ers A Lalh­mac­chuana (Ser­lui), and James Thangh­ming­mawia (Tuichang) .

Sit­ting MLAs who are in the list in­clude Lal­ro­bi­aka (Dampa), cab­i­net min­is­ter H Rohluna (Lengteng) and CM’s Lal Than­hawla’s brother Lal Than­zara (Aizawl North-III).

The Congress had 34 mem­bers in the assem­bly, but last month home min­is­ter R Lalzir­liana quit and joined the op­po­si­tion Mizo Na­tional Front (MNF).

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has been able to spread its in­flu­ence in the North­east in the past two years.

But in Mi­zo­ram it is ex­pected to be a di­rect con­test be­tween the Congress and MNF. The MNF is part of the North East Demo­cratic Al­liance (NEDA), a BJP-led con­glom­er­a­tion of anti-Congress par­ties in the re­gion.

“We re­spect age and ex­pe­ri­ence, but the ef­fort this time is to give around one-third of the tick­ets to new faces that, I am sure, will be wel­comed by vot­ers, es­pe­cially the youths,” Luiz­inho Faleiro, the Congress in-charge for the North­east (ex­clud­ing As­sam), said.

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