Mizoram CM: I wiped tilak off, can they wipe blood off their hands

Lal ThanhawlaThe CM with a tilak on his forehead

Mizoram Chief Minister Lal Thanhawla has hit back at the opposition, which has been attacking him for sporting a tilak and charging him with forsaking his religion.

"I wiped off the tilak on my forehead after the function, but how are those who took up arms and caused deaths of many innocents to wipe the blood off their hands?" Lal Thanhawla said Tuesday, in an obvious reference to the Mizo National Front, whose members fought a 20-year guerrilla war against the Indian armed forces for a separate Mizo country.

Speaking at a joint platform organised by the Mizoram People's Forum at his bastion Serchhip, Lal Thanhawla said the opposition has resorted to such tactics "because they cannot find any evidence of corruption against me and this is all they have to stand on". Rooting out corruption was the Congress's main plank in 2008, when it won by a landslide with 32 of 40 seats.

At the platform, the five-time chief minister came under attack from other candidates, particularly the Mizoram Democratic Alliance's C Lalramzauva and independent Lalawmpuia Renthlei. The ooposition has been charging the Congress with playing what it calls "Indianisation politics", tapping into the largely Christian Mizos' religious sentiment as well as widespread fears of being swamped by larger ethnic populations.

To this charge, Lal Thanhawla said, "God has sought us Mizos out with his spirit, and why should we, who believe this, fear being swamped? Will God not protect us, those he has found? He will not allow us to be swamped."

In a veiled attack on the CM, who has been targeted for sporting the tilak and taking part in pujas several times on visits outside, the MDA's Lalramzauva said in his speech at the joint platform, "Spiritual people have said these elections are not going to be fought between parties but between forces of good and evil, between believers and nonbelievers."

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