Chief minister and Mizoram PCC president Lal Thanhawla, who led the Congress to its second straight win in Mizoram on Monday, spoke to The Telegraph on his partyís victory and its electoral setbacks in other states.Excerpts from the interview with Umanand Jaiswal:
The Telegraph: What would you attribute your victory to?
Lal Thanhawla: We were confident, given our good track record. There was no corruption charge against us even though the RTI was widely used. Nor were there any law and order concerns. Government employees were also happy as we looked after their welfare, despite constraints.
TT: What about the Opposition alliance?
Lal Thanhawla: It was not an issue because the people of Mizoram know whom to vote for.
TT: What about the debacle in the other four states?
Lal Thanhawla: The Chhattisgarh and Delhi results were a bit surprising. It calls for serious introspection. We will have to work really hard if we wish to do well in the 2014 polls.
There is no dearth of talent within the Congress but have to be careful with candidate selection. Winnability has to be backed.
TT: What will be your priority now?
Lal Thanhawla: I want to ensure that pending/ongoing projects will get implemented. Completion of the hydel projects (around 2700MW), highways, exploration of natural gas and railway projects are priority areas. I will be talking to Union petroleum minister Veerappa Moily to get things moving on the exploration front.
TT: Mizoram is said to be peaceful but it shuts down quite early (by 5pm). Isnít it affecting the youth and tourism sector?
Lal Thanhawla: It is a legacy left behind by years of insurgency. People are yet to come out of the night-curfew mindset.
But the scene is improving. It is true that life for the youth is suffocating but it has not affected tourism.
We are trying to find an outlet for the youth by providing them with skill development programmes, enhancing sports facilities and motivating them to join the armed forces. Around 3,500 young people have joined the armed forces in recent times.
TT: What is the legacy you would like to leave behind?
Lal Thanhawla: I want to leave behind a self-sufficient Mizoram where everybody can live a better life.