Confident that the Congress will retain power in Mizoram, Chief Minister Lal Thanhawla said on Monday the BJP will have to wait another five years to open its account in the state and alleged the saffron party was trying to “buy” votes with money power.
In an interview to PTI, the nine-time MLA Thanhawla also alleged that the BJP is trying to buy votes of Chakma and Bru communities by taking their leaders to Guwahati and “brainwashing them with RSS ideology”.
“As a ruling party in the Centre, they should try to open their account in Mizoram, which they have not been able to do so far. They are most welcome, but I would advise them not to try to spoil the Mizo people with money power. Money has never played any role in Mizoram. Election in Mizoram is most free, fair and peaceful,” he said.
Talking about the high-decibel campaign by the BJP in the last 10 days, Mr Thanhawla said, “Empty pots or bottles sound the loudest” and predicted that the saffron party is unlikely to get a single seat in the 40-member Assembly going for polls on Wednesday.
During the election campaign, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, BJP president Amit Shah and union ministers Rajnath Singh and Jitendra Singh have launched a blistering attack on the Congress regime in the state, blaming it for under-development of the hill state.
“They are spending a lot of money in the micro-minority areas like the Chakmas and Brus. They shifted out their leaders to Guwahati just to brainwash them into the RSS ideology. Himanta Biswa Sarma is playing a big role. He has taken quite a good number of the Bru leaders to Guwahati and elsewhere and they are trying to brainwash them,” the chief minister alleged.
“They are trying to purchase them with money power. I don’t know how many they (BJP) can purchase. But I told them (Chakmas and Brus) that they should not (forget) their tradition of integrity by being purchasable commodity. People are trying to purchase them. Otherwise why should they concentrate only in the micro minority areas?” the Chief Minister said.
Asked about Assam Minister and BJP leader Mr Sarma’s statement that the BJP may consider alliance with Mizoram Congress, Mr Thanhawla replied in negative.
“That’s the farthest thing from my mind. I wouldn’t have anything to do with the BJP,” he said.
The four-time chief minister, who is fighting for the third consecutive term, Mr Thanhawla, however, said he fears the BJP may try to repeat a Nagaland or a Meghalaya kind of situation, but they will not be successful.
On possibility of the Congress MLAs being poached after the results, he said: “They (BJP) will try to do that, but they will not be able to poach Congress MLAs. Because no Mizo is a purchasable commodity.”
When asked about Mizoram BJP President J V Hluna’s accusation that Mr Thanhawla had contacted Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh to join the BJP, the senior Congress leader said, “He is in his dreams. These allegations are part of his wishful thinking. And lies do not have legs, they fall. This is stark naked lie. Liars do not survive in Mizoram politics.”
Talking to PTI, Mr Hluna had earlier said, “Lal Thanhawla himself, before this election, and his followers had contacted the central leadership (of the BJP) to merge the whole Congress, just like the Arunachal Pradesh. They were in contact with them… I know that he had contacted Rajnath Singh.”
The Congress has been in power in Mizoram since 2008 and is eyeing the third consecutive term. In 2013 assembly elections, the Congress won 34 seats, while the main opposition party Mizo National Front (MNF) got five and Mizoram People’s Conference bagged one.
Congress and the MNF are leaving no stones unturned to woo the voters, while BJP has launched a spirited campaign to get power in this strategically important North Eastern state sandwiched between Myanmar and Bangladesh with the party’s national president Amit Shah declaring that Christmas will be celebrated in Mizoram under the BJP rule this December.
Mizoram is being seen by the BJP leaders as the “final frontier” in its ‘Congress-free North East’ campaign as the party has already secured power in Assam, Tripura, Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh, besides joining the ruling coalitions in Meghalaya and Nagaland.
While Congress and MNF are contesting in all the 40 constituencies this time, BJP is fighting in 39 seats.