The message is clear — there are no safe havens in politics
The resounding victory of the fledgling Zoram People’s Movement (ZPM) in the Mizoram Assembly elections on a plank of clean politics appears to be a northeastern version of the Aam Aadmi Party experiment.
The ZPM, launched in 2017 as a platform of civil society movements and manned by people who have flocked to it from various political parties, had won 22 per cent of the votes in its first outing in the 2018 elections. This time, it raised the vote share to 37 per cent in its march towards power, winning 27 seats in the 40-member Assembly.
While the ruling Mizo National Front (MNF) almost retained its vote share, the Congress lost about seven per cent votes. This would indicate that the ZPM’s political plank has caught the imagination of a section of people who were not sympathetic towards either main player who have ruled the state since its formation in 1987.
The message is clear — there are no safe havens in politics. Old ones can sit pretty as long as there are no new players on the scene. And the fresh players often have a captive audience in pockets of the society which have people who are fed up with corruption entrenched in the system. The Indian voter has been seen to be willing to experiment with new ideas — it is up to Lalduhoma, a former cop who is ZPM’s founder and the chief ministerial candidate, now to fulfil his promises and keep the faith.
The MNF was a member of the North Eastern Democratic Alliance, propped up by the BJP, but its leader Zoramthanga had distanced his party from the NDA. With his defeat, the NDA is now no longer in the picture. However, it is still important for the Centre to work in tandem with the state governments in the region to assure that social and ethnic differences do not assume a toxic form and that violence does not get a foothold there.