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BJP strengthening base among ethnic minorities

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We are confident of faring better in the upcoming assembly polls : BJP president Vanlalhmuaka

AIZAWL, July 28 (PTI): With the Mizoram Assembly polls due in 2023, the BJP is strengthening its base in ethnic minority-dominated areas in its effort to form the next government, ousting NDA constituent Mizo National Front (MNF), in the state.
The party is highly optimistic about its growth as, to form the government, it has to increase its tally in the 40-member House from the current one to at least 21.
To help make this big leap possible, the BJP is strengthening its base in certain constituencies across the north-eastern state where ethnic minorities such as Brus and Chakmas are in the majority.
“We have enough time to strengthen our party and we are confident of faring better in the upcoming assembly polls,” state BJP president Vanlalhmuaka told PTI.
Asked how many seats they are expecting to win, he evaded a direct reply saying “we have been preparing to form the next government”.
Of the eight states in the north-eastern region, the BJP is ruling four – Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur and Tripura. Parties belonging to the NDA are in power in the remaining four including Mizoram.
The last Congress bastion in the region, Mizoram, fell in the 2018 Assembly elections and the MNF came to power winning 28 seats. The BJP opened its account and won one constituency.
Vanlalhmuaka said, “We are actively involved in campaigns to make the party stronger.”
Another senior BJP leader said that the party is specifically concentrating on constituencies where ethnic minority community people, who are non-Mizos, are dominating.
The party is focusing on three constituencies in Bru majority Mamit district bordering Tripura and one in Hmar dominated Tuivawl seat that shares boundary with Manipur, the leader said.
Besides, the BJP expects to perform better in two Assembly constituencies in Siaha district, three in Lawngtlai district and a Chakma-dominated seat in Lunglei district.
In May, the BJP emerged as the single-largest party in the 25-member Mara Autonomous District Council (MADC) polls in south Mizoram’s Siaha district. It has won 12 seats, but failed to get the absolute majority by a single seat. A coalition of MNF and Congress came to power there.
Some MLAs from other parties including the MNF are likely to join the BJP before the election, a BJP source said.
On the setback at Tuichawng constituency in Lawngtlai district, where party MLA Buddha Dhan Chakma was recently convicted in a corruption case by a local court, the state BJP chief said they will appeal against the order in the high court.
Chief minister and MNF head Zoramthanga recently said the party will try to raise its seats to 30 in the next Assembly election.
However, Vanlalhmuaka said, “We will contest in all 40 seats. People are putting faith in the BJP as they believe no other party including the MNF will be able to form the next government.”
Despite the party’s optimism, political pundits are sceptical about the performance of the BJP in the next election in the Christian majority state.
Dr Lallianchhunga, associate professor of political science at Mizoram University, said that majority of the Mizo people do not support the BJP as they see it as an anti-Christian party due to its Hindutva agenda.
The BJP is unlikely to raise its tally much unless it ties up with the NDA ally MNF, he said.
Lalthakima, who teaches political science at Pachhunga University College, said that the saffron party might win Mamit and West Tuipui seats besides retaining Tuichawng, thus bagging only three seats.
The BJP had contested 39 seats and got a vote share of 8 per cent against the ruling MNF’s 37.7 per cent in the last Assembly polls.

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The Hills Times
The Hills Timeshttps://www.thehillstimes.in/
The Hills Times, a largely circulated English daily published from Diphu and printed in Guwahati, having vast readership in hills districts of Assam, and neighbouring Nagaland, Meghalaya, Arunachal Pradesh and Manipur.
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