Mizoram Assembly elections: Lalduhoma, the man who guarded Indira Gandhi, set to be chief minister

The ZPM which was registered as a political party only in 2019 secured a majority in the Mizoram Assembly, winning 27 of the 40 seats.

ByPTI

Published Dec 04, 2023 | 5:55 PMUpdated Dec 04, 2023 | 5:55 PM

Mizoram Assembly elections: Lalduhoma, the man who guarded Indira Gandhi, set to be chief minister

From earning the dubious distinction of being the first MP to be disqualified under the anti-defection law to being all set to becoming the chief minister of Mizoram, 73-year-old Lalduhoma has had a political journey that has been all about battling the odds.

Lalduhoma, an ex-IPS officer who served as the in-charge of former prime minister Indira Gandhi’s security, is the chief ministerial face of the Zoram People’s Movement (ZPM).

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The results

The ZPM which was registered as a political party only in 2019 secured a majority in the Mizoram Assembly on Monday, 4 December, winning 27 of the 40 seats, according to the Election Commission (EC).

Lalduhoma himself bagged the Serchhip seat by defeating his nearest MNF rival J Malsawmzuala Vanchhawng by 2,982 votes.

The ruling Mizo National Front won nine seats and was leading in one. The BJP won the Palak and Saiha seats. The Indian National Congress bagged the Lawngtlai West seat.

For over three decades, chief ministership in the northeastern state has been a see-saw affair between two senior politicians Lal Thanhawla of the Congress and MNF’s Zoramthanga.

Political career of Lalduhoma

Lalduhoma first contested the Mizoram Assembly polls on a Congress ticket in 1984 but lost to People’s Conference party nominee Lalhmingthanga by a margin of 846 votes.

The same year, he contested the Lok Sabha polls as a Congress candidate and was elected unopposed.

The ZPM leader resigned as state Congress president and withdrew his primary membership from the party in 1986 after he was accused of conspiring against then chief minister Lal Thanhawla and some Cabinet ministers.

Lalduhoma became the first MP to be disqualified under the anti-defection law after he quit the Congress in 1988.

He was also disqualified by Mizoram Assembly Speaker Lalrinliana Sailo in 2020, after 12 Mizo National Front (MNF) legislators filed complaints, alleging he defected to the ZPM by actively participating in party activities, though being elected as an independent in the 2018 polls.

Lalduhoma was the first legislator to have been disqualified under the anti-defection law in Mizoram, but he managed to win the by-election to the Serchhip seat in 2021.

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The 2018 elections

Besides the Congress, he was once part of the MNF. He had floated his own party, the Zoram Nationalist Party, and was also instrumental in the formation of the ZPM.

In the 2018 Assembly polls, Lalduhoma won two seats Serchhip and Aizawl West-I. He had defeated incumbent legislator and five-time chief minister Lal Thanhawla from Serchhip by a margin of 410 votes.

Lalduhoma subsequently vacated the Aizawl West-I seat to retain Serchhip.

Prior to the 2018 elections, Lalduhoma had successfully contested polls as a ZNP candidate from the Ratu seat in 2003 and Aizawl West-I seat in 2008.

Polling was held on 7 November, and over 80 percent of the state’s 8.57 lakh voters exercised their franchise. A total of 174 candidates, including 18 women, were in the fray.

The MNF, ZPM and Congress contested 40 seats each, while the BJP fielded candidates in 23 seats. The AAP which contested the Assembly polls in Mizoram for the first time, fought in four seats. Also, there were 17 Independent candidates.

(With PTI inputs)