The results of the assembly elections held in five states were announced on Tuesday and amidst a day of chaos, two leaders emerged with a decisive public mandate for them. Telangana elected its incumbent CM, K Chandrasekhara Rao with a thumping majority while the Mizo National Front emerged victorious with an equally decisive mandate under the leadership of Pu Zoramthanga.
Pu Zoramthanga is 74. He had been the CM of Mizoram for 2-terms in the past, between 1998 and 2008. Born in July 1944 in Samthang village, he is the second youngest of eight children.
He was an active participant of the Mizo Freedom Movement that started in 1966. The MNF, then an underground movement under President Laldenga was active during the insurgency. In 1979, he became the vice president of the MNF.
After Mizoram was declared a state in 1986 and MNF was invited to form an interim government, Zoramthanga was given the charge of finance and education departments. He became the President of MNF after Laldenga’s death.
Zoramthanga became the CM of Mizoram in 1998 and went on to win a second term in 2003. MNF lost 2008 elections to Congress following which the incumbent Lal Thanhawla became CM.
In December 2014, the Congress government in Mizoram revoked the state law that ensured a total prohibition of liquor, The Mizoram Total Prohibition of Liquor Act,1995 and introduced the revamped Mizoram Liquor (Prohibition and Control) Act, 2014. The new law allowed individual citizens to buy six bottles (750 ml each) of Indian made foreign liquor and 10 bottles each of beer and wine every month for ‘personal consumption’. There was a widespread uproar in the state as several citizens and church groups started protesting.
The liquor issue became pivotal in the run-up to the state assembly elections. Zoramthanga had claimed that the lifting of total prohibition in the state has resulted in thousands of untimely deaths and addiction is becoming a major problem in the state. He had promised that bringing back the total prohibition will be his government’s first priority after assuming office. He and his party were also in the forefront of demanding CEO B Shashank’s removal from the state over the Bru refugees’ voting issues.
Zoramthanga is scheduled to take oath as Mizoram’s CM on Saturday. After the MNF secured 26 seats in the 40-member assembly, Zoramthanga had met the governor Kummanam Rajasekharan and staked claim to form the government.
Though the MNF is a part of the North Eastern Democratic Alliance (NEDA), Zoramthanga has ruled out any association with the BJP at the state level. BJP’s Buddha Dan Chakma won the Tuichawng assembly seat becoming the first ever BJP MLA in Mizoram.