Top opposition leaders bite the dust in Mizoram Assembly elections
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The opposition in Mizoram has been routed for a second consecutive term, with all the main leaders losing to, in some cases, first time MLA candidates.
The biggest upset is of Dr R Lalthangliana, a political powerhouse who had never lost any of the assembly elections after Mizoram became a state in 1987. He lost to Chalrosanga, a first timer on a Congress ticket, by 94 votes.
Chalrosanga is a businessman from a prominent Aizawl family that also has deep roots in Lunglei town. He is the younger brother of Cabinet Minister Zodintluanga, arguably the most popular leader in the previous cabinet, especially among the youth.
Another major upset is MNF President Zoramthanga's loss to retired bureaucrat T Sangkunga, who is also a first time MLA candidate. Sangkunga rose from being a clerk to secretary level during his career, and who was twice the president of the powerful, mass-based civil society organisation Young Mizo Association.
Zoramthanga, who was CM of Mizoram for two terms between 1998 and 2008, lost by more than 1000 votes each in two constituencies in the last assembly elections.
"I am taking a risk," he had told The Indian Express during a campaign trip, "We no longer have even a third of the strength we used to have here because of the Congress' NLUP".
Another major upset is the Zoram Nationalist Party's Lalduhoma, a former IPS officer and MP who was once part of Indira Gandhi's internal security ensemble. Having led opinion polls for "most preferred CM" for several months prior to polls, his party had used 'change' as a plank and tried to campaign on a presidential-style contest.
He has lost in both seats he contested from - his bastion of Aizawl West 1, where he lost to MNF heavyweight K Sangthuama, and Kolasib, where he lost to P C Zoramsangliana, a Congress veteran. Lalduhoma came third in both the seats.