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Cong waits to take charge

Aizawl/Silchar, Dec. 9: A new Congress ministry in Mizoram is expected to be sworn in either on Thursday or Friday, state Congress president Lalthanhawla, who is tipped to be the next chief minister, said today.

The Congress, under his leadership, staged a remarkable comeback to power, winning 32 seats in the 40-seat Assembly.

The results also relegated the Mizo National Front (MNF) to its worst-ever performance, with only three seats in its kitty, 18 short from 2003.

The election of the 68-year-old journalist-turned-politician Lalthanhawla by the Congress Legislature Party is just a formality as he was projected as the chief ministerial candidate in the run-up to the polls.

Former Congress minister Zoramsangliana, who won from the Kolosib constituency, ruled out any possibility of Lalthanhawla flying off to New Delhi for consultation on his ministry.

Zoramsangliana and Major (retd) Ved Prakash, the AICC observer for Northeast, now in Aizawl, are in touch with the high command on that.

For Lalthanhawla, the real challenge would be to keep his unusually big team content, since there is room for only 12 — including the chief minister — in the ministry.

Of the 32 elected legislators, nine, including Lalthanhawla, have retained their seats making them strong contenders for ministerial berths.

Apart from them, there were seven veteran Congressmen who had made it to the sixth Assembly.

“Yes, it is a tough call. But the fact that half of our newly elected legislators are first timers and are not immediate aspirants for ministerial berths, has made the job relatively easier,” said a senior Congress leader.

Nevertheless, the party will not be able to ignore the new faces given their overwhelming number, said political observers.

Among the first timers is Lalthanhawla’s brother, Lalthanzara.

Another imminent trouble for the former editor of Mizo Aw (Mizo Voice) and the founder president of the Mizoram Journalist Association is a court case of funds misappropriation pending against him.

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