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The coming battles for ballot in Mizoram, Chhattisgarh, Telangana, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan assumes massive political significance as they might act as curtain raiser for the Lok Sabha polls slated for 2019.

The parliamentary polls would certainly have effects of the results of assembly polls as the pre-poll political permutations and combinations, trend of polling, defections and post-poll formation of governments (whether single party majority or coalition) are likely to shape the political future of the main political parties.

Among these 5-states, all eyes are currently set on Mizoram as this is the last bastion of Congress in the Northeast and political future of BJP in the region greatly depends on the outcome of the polls. If Congress is defeated, it will not have state under it. If BJP wins, it will emerge as the political Juggernaut of the region.  

Mizoram, a Christian majority state, had traditionally been strongholds of Congress and Mizo National Front (MNF). The BJP is a new entrant. All these three major political entities are fighting the polls separately.

It is true, that the BJP created political miracles in Tripura and Assam by ousting the Communists and Congress respectively. Can the BJP oust Congress from Mizoram singlehandedly as it did in Tripura and Assam? The answer to this question greatly depends on the demographic structure of Mizoram.

Mizoram is a different ball-game for BJP. In the case of Tripura and Assam, we find that both the states have mixed population with a largest chunks being that of the Hindus. But in the case of Mizoram, the situation is vastly different as the Hindutva factor may not operate here.

The 2011-Census says, 87.16% of populations in the state are Christians. Can the Lotus of Hindutva party BJP bloom in the predominantly Christian soils? It is difficult indeed. The MNF, though a constituent of North-East Democratic Alliance (NEDA) formed by the BJP, is contesting all the seats separately offering a rude blow to the Saffron Party.

Since the NEDA-partners – BJP and MNF – are contesting separately, it would certainly mislead the voters, cause cross voting giving an edge to the Congress. Moreover, the electorate would find it rather confusing that though they are NEDA-partners, they are crossing their swords at the election campaigning against each other.

If a realistic and unbiased approach is adopted, we will find the chances of neither Congress nor BJP grabbing absolute majority possible. The MNF can, at the most, play the second fiddle. It is quite likely that the state is heading for a coalition government.   

Coalition Government Possible

In electoral politics, the past often gets reflected on the polls as a vast number of electorate usually prefers to see that their candidates returning to power. This certainly is a plus-point for Congress as BJP is a new comer. To further hinder the BJP’s chance, the MNF will also play spoilsport as it has a strong base in Mizoram.

The Congress in 2008 assembly polls, won 32 out of 40 seats with vote share standing at 39% and in 2013, it won 34 seats with a vote share of 45% proving BJP is pitched against a formidable political rival. The MNF in 2008 and 2013, got 31% and 29% vote shares respectively proving its base quite strong with no need to be in NEDA which harmed BJP.

The MNF, fighting all seats, may hold the key in formation of government by coalescing with either Congress or BJP. Apparently, Congress is likely to fall a victim of vote-sharing and cross voting of Christians unlike polls of 2008 and 2013. If Congress failed to get majority, it can form coalition government with MNF and Zoram People’s Movement (ZPM). The BJP, if performs well but lacking magic number, can form government with the support of MNF and ZPM.   

New Entrants in Poll

This time, we find two new entrants in Mizoram polls: BJP and ZPM. Their entry will create new polling trend for all the parties ramifying the vote share thus brightening the chances of a coalition government.

Formation of the new political group Zoram People’s Movement (ZPM) will not only create problems for BJP and MNF but Congress too. Earlier, MNF and Congress faced no threats from ZPM.  

Since ZPM, contesting 39 seats, is a cluster of Zorum Exodus Movement, Zoram Nationalist Party, Mizoram People’s Conference, Zoram Decentralization Front, Zoram Reformation Front and Mizoram People’s Party, it can get support of the ethnic Zorum people as a whole. The BJP, Congress or MNF are unlikely to get Zorum-votes making ZPM the possible king maker.

The conversion of People’s Right to Information and Development Implementation Society of Mizoram (PRISM) from an anti-corruption watchdog into a political party is likely to wean away votes from the BJP, MNF and Congress. It is in this backdrop Maraland Democratic Front or MDF (earlier an ally of MNF) merged with the BJP harming MNF.  

Factors Damaging Congress

Amlan Home Chowdhury

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