New Delhi/Aizawl, Oct 26: The Congress party in Mizoram braving the anti-incumbency mood and fighting the ensuing electoral battle with its back to the wall has sought to throw an open challenge to the party high command's decision in Delhi to field state assembly Speaker Hiphei for the Palak assembly constituency.
"It may not be a direct challenge to the high command, but it is not a case of accepting things passively either. The Mizoram Pradesh Congress nomination committee met in Aizawl on Thursday to review the list released by party high command, especially in the case of Palak constituency," a source in the Mizoram Congress said over phone.
Incumbent Chief Minister Lal Thanhawla is the chairman of the nomination committee and he presided over the meeting on Thursday. Another crucial round of meeting is scheduled on Friday, sources said.
A section of party leaders in the state are rooting for a former IAS officer Khaimichho Riachho. The seat falls under Mara Autonomous District Council (MADC) and in an unusual manner, a Congress party's nomination committee had recommended earlier two names for the seat. Although the name of Mr Hiphei (81) figured in the number one, several leaders hoped that due to the age, the party ticket would eventually pass to Mr Riachho.
Moreover, the majority six members of the MADC nomination committee of Congress had favoured Mr Riachho and on Thursday's meeting reportedly decided to quit Congress in the event the party stands by the decision of the AICC.
Congress general secretary Mukul Wasnik on Wednesday released the names of candidates stating that the list was approved by the central election committee. "The rebellion has set in and the six pro-Mr Riachho members have threatened to quit the Congress party and could join the MNF or even the BJP. This development will be crucial in terms of having a direct impact on the outcome of polls to the Palak assembly segment," a source said.
The Congress high command's decision to defy the call of the influential Mizo body - the NGO Coordination Committee on two Chakma dominated seats Tuichawng and West Tuipui assembly segments - could also fetch in wrath of the community leaders apparently.
The NGO Coordination Committee has expressed displeasure at the Congress decision to field Nihar Kanti Chakma and Amit Kumar Chakma from West Tuipui and Tuichwang assembly seats. The influential body had last year urged all major political parties to field only Mizo candidates in these two seats.
Chakmas are in confrontation with Mizos from time to time. The NGO body had earlier described creation of Chakma Autonomous District Council (CADC) as "illegal" and only a measure to help "illegal immigrants from East Pakistan and now Bangladesh" to enter Mizoram.
A popular Chakma leader and former Congress Minister B D Chakma has already joined BJP while MNF has said earlier that while they favoured 'adhering' to the diktats of the NGO, the outfit led by former Chief Minister Zoramthanga will be fielding a Chakma candidate if Congress does so.MNF nominee is likely to be Rakesh Mohan Chakma from Tuichawng. UNI