By Elton Gomes
Mizo National Front (MNF) chief Zoramthanga was sworn in as Mizoram’s new chief minister on Saturday, December 15. The MNF chief took oath in the Mizo language, in the presence of Governor K. Rajasekharan during a ceremony at Raj Bhavan in Aizawl.
This is Zoramthanga’s third stint as chief minister of the northeastern state, having led the MNF government in Mizoram in 1998 and 2003. Tawnluia will be Mizoram’s deputy chief minister.
The MNF won 26 seats in the recently concluded Mizoram Assembly elections. The Congress managed to win only six seats, while the BJP won five.
After the landslide victory, the MNF reiterated that it would not enter an alliance with the BJP. Zoramthanga emphasised that his party did not want to align with the BJP or the Congress.
“We will not have any coalition government either with the BJP or any other ways because my party can form the government on its own as we have got 26 seats out of 40,” Zoramthanga said after the results were announced.
Who is Zoramthanga?
74-year-old Zoramthanga was previously the chief minister of Mizoram for two terms, between 1998 and 2008.
Zoramthanga was an insurgent when he joined the MNF’s underground movement. When he was underground, he had gone to Beijing on a secret mission, had spent time in Islamabad, escaped a raid in Chittagong, and negotiated with Indian spies about his return to India.
Zoramthanga graduated from D.M. College in Manipur in the 1960s, and the joined the MNF underground movement. On March 1, 1966, then MNF leader Laldenga had declared independence from the Indian Union.
Towards the end of the 1960s, Zoramthanga was appointed secretary to Laldenga. He also travelled with the Laldenga to Pakistan and Europe during that time. Zoramthanga’s role was vital in peace talks with the Indian government.
After the peace accord was signed between the MNF and the then government of India on June 30, 1986, Zoramthanga was inducted as a minister in the interim government headed by Laldenga for six months. During that time, Zoramthanga held Education and Finance portfolios after being elected in the 1987 Assembly elections.
Mizoram was placed under President’s Rule in the later part of 1988 due to defections by some legislators including former underground personnel. Zoramthanga was then re-elected from Champhai seat in the 1989 assembly polls.
After Laldenga passed away due to lung cancer on July 7, 1990, Zoramthanga was elected as the MNF party chief, which is the post he continues to hold till date.
Zoramthanga contested the 1993 state assembly polls from his home turf of Champhai and won for the third time to become the Leader of the opposition in the state legislature.
Zoramthanga then led the MNF to victory in the 1998 state assembly polls when he won from Champhai and Khawbung seats and formed the government with 21 legislators.
Thereafter, he was inducted as Mizoram’s Chief Minister for the first time and completed the full term. He retained power in the 2003 state polls and continued as the chief minister.
However, the MNF faced a setback in the 2008 elections, after managing to win only three seats. Zoramthanga lost from both Champhai North and Champhai South constituencies. The Congress came to power in 2008 after it won 32 of the 40 Assembly seats. Zoramthanga’s MNF also failed to shine in 2013, wherein the Congress won 34 seats.
Elton Gomes is a staffwriter at Qrius
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