Securing an absolute majority in the 40-member Mizoram Assembly, the MNF on Tuesday returned to power after a decade, crushing the Congress and ousting it from power in the last Northeastern state it ruled.
The Mizo National Front (MNF), which got only five seats in the 2013 Assembly polls, secured 21 seats and was leading in five more while the ruling Congress won only five seats.
The Congress had taken power in the state in both 2008 and 2013 elections. It won 34 seats in the last election.
Mizoram is the last bastion of the Congress in the northeast that comprises eight states, including Sikkim.
Mizoram Chief Minister Lal Thanhawla, who contested from two constituencies — his home turf Serchhip and Champhai South lost in both the seats.
Thanhawla was defeated by TJ Lalnuntluanga of the MNF by 1,049 votes from Champhai South seat, whereas, Serchhip was snatched by Zoram People’s Movement’s (ZPM) chief ministerial candidate Lalduhoma by a margin of 410 votes.
The 76-year-old Congress leader has been ruling the state since December 2008. In the 2013 assembly elections, he became the chief minister for the fifth time, a record in Mizoram.
Buddha Dhan Chakma, a Minister in the Congress government, who just before the November 28 polls joined the BJP, won in Chakma tribal-dominated Tuichawng constituency defeating his MNF rival by 1,594 votes.
MNF supremo and Chief Ministerial candidate Zoramthanga was elected for a fifth term from Aizawl East-I, defeating Independent candidate K. Sapdanga.
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) made its entry into the Mizoram Assembly winning the Tuichawng seat.
The BJP had undertaken intense efforts to oust the Congress in Mizoram after forming governments on its own or in alliance in the others in the Northeast.
The MNF, a constituent of the BJP-led North East Democratic Alliance (NEDA), ruled Mizoram for 10 years — 1998-2003 and 2003-2008.
However, both the BJP and MNF fielded candidates separately in 40 and 39 seats respectively this time.
(With agency inputs)