Aizawl: The Mizo National Front (MNF) on Tuesday secured an absolute majority in the 40-member Mizoram Assembly, ousting the ruling Congress which has served two terms in the north-eastern state. The MNF returned to power after a decade by bagging a total of 26 seats.

In a big jolt to the Congress, Mizoram Chief Minister Lal Thanhawla lost both the seats he contested from, for the assembly election 2018. The Chief Minister lost the Champhai South seat to MNF’s TJ Lalnuntluanga and Serchhip seat to Zoram People’s Movement’s (ZPM) chief ministerial candidate Lalduhoma. Sources at the Chief Minister’s Office (CMO) said Thanhawla was likely to tender his resignation to Governor Kummanam Rajasekharan soon.

MNF supremo and Chief Ministerial candidate Zoramthanga was elected for a fifth term from Aizawl East-I, defeating Independent candidate K. Sapdanga. Buddha Dhan Chakma, a minister in the outgoing Congress government, who just before the November 28 polls joined the BJP, won in Chakma tribal-dominated Tuichawng constituency defeating his MNF rival by 1,594 votes.

Five Independents won and three others were leading.

Former IPS officer, security in-charge of former prime minister Indira Gandhi and Zoram People’s Movement (ZPM) chief Lalduhoma defeated outgoing Chief Minister Thanhawla in Serchhip by 410 votes. Lalduhoma quit the Congress two years ago before forming the ZPM.

Popular Aizawl Football Club (Aizawl FC) owner Robert Romawia Royte, who contested on MNF ticket from Aizawl East-II, also won.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) was able to open its account in the Mizoram Assembly by winning the Tuichawng seat. The saffron party had taken intense efforts to oust the Congress in Mizoram after forming governments on its own or in alliance in the others in the Northeast.

The MNF, a constituent of the BJP-led North East Democratic Alliance (NEDA), ruled Mizoram for 10 years — 1998-2003 and 2003-2008.

However, both the BJP and MNF fielded candidates separately in 40 and 39 seats respectively this time.

It must be noted that the MNF, which got only five seats in the 2013 Assembly polls, secured 21 seats while the ruling Congress won only five seats. The Congress had taken power in the state in both 2008 and 2013 elections. It won 34 seats in the last election.

The main parties in the fray were the Congress, Mizo National Front (MNF) and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). The Vidhan Sabha elections are important because this will have a strong impact on the upcoming Lok Sabha election 2019.

Mizoram Assembly Election 2018, on all the 40 Vidhan Sabha constituencies, was held in a single phase on November 28. The counting of the votes polled in the Mizoram Assembly Election 2018 took place today, along with other four states.

The Assembly Election 2018 schedule was declared on October 6 and the model code of conduct came into force soon after the announcement by the Election Commission (EC). The exit polls also predicted the Congress heading towards losing bitterly to Opposition MNF in the state. This grand old party is only losing its only bastion in North East.