Aizawl: In a sweeping electoral upset, the Zoram People’s Movement (ZPM) has wrested power from the ruling Mizo National Front (MNF) in Mizoram, signalling a significant shift in the political landscape of the Christian-dominated Northeastern state.
The political landscape of Mizoram is undergoing a notable transformation with the ascendancy of the Zoram People’s Movement. Spearheaded by former IPS officer Lalduhoma, ZPM’s triumph can be credited to its strategic focus on garnering significant support from the youth demographic. With 70 percent of slightly over 8 lakh voters below the age of 35, the regional party strategically nominated a cadre of youthful candidates against experienced contenders from the MNF and Congress.
The Rise of ZPM: A Political Metamorphosis in Mizoram
Mizoram is witnessing a political renaissance with the emergence of the Zoram People’s Movement, founded by Lalduhoma—an ex-IPS officer, MLA, and former Member of Parliament. Originating as a coalition of six regional parties in 2018, including the Mizoram People’s Conference, Zoram Nationalist Party, Zoram Exodus Movement, Zoram Decentralisation Front, Zoram Reformation Front, and Mizoram People’s Party, the ZPM gained traction in the 2018 Mizoram Legislative Assembly elections.
Advocating for a corruption-free Mizoram, the ZPM contested 36 out of 40 seats, securing victory in eight and garnering support from independent candidates. The party’s recent success, winning 27 out of 40 seats in the Mizoram assembly, marks a substantial leap for the relatively young political entity.
Political analysts attribute ZPM’s victory to its proactive approach to building a base for the 2023 elections, leveraging technology and social media platforms to connect with the youth. Addressing issues such as employment, development in sync with the rest of the country, and anti-corruption measures resonated strongly with voters.
In a surprising outcome, three-time Chief Minister and MNF chief Zoramthanga suffered defeat, losing to Lalthansanga of ZPM in the Aizawl East 1 seat by over 2100 votes. Tendering his resignation, Zoramthanga acknowledged public dissatisfaction with his government’s performance.
ZPM’s Vision and Future Plans
As ZPM prepares to assume power, the party has called for a meeting of newly elected MLAs on December 5. ZPM Chief Lalduhoma, speaking to the media, expressed the people’s expectation for a better government. Promising swift action, he pledged to hand over major corruption cases to the CBI and fulfil election promises, including supporting farmers through MSP.
Notably, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) secured an increased tally with two MLAs in the Christian-majority state, marking notable growth for the party. BJP candidates K Hrahmo and Dr K Beichhua on their spectacular win from Palak and Siaha Assembly Constituencies in Mizoram Assembly Election.
In contrast, the Congress party, which ruled Mizoram for years, faced a complete wipeout and was reduced to a single MLA in the state. This development further diminishes the Congress’s influence in the Northeastern region.
Notably, ZPM chief Lalduhoma was a Congressman and was elected to Lok Sabha as a Congress MP in 1984. Prior to joining politics, Lalduhoma was the security in charge of late PM Indira Gandhi. The veteran politician had a major role in signing the Mizo peace accord. But later, he quit Congress and joined the regional forces to work for the development of the state. As ZPM gears up to form the next government, the political landscape in Mizoram undergoes a transformative shift, reflecting the electorate’s desire for change and a new era of governance.