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Tue, 13 Nov 2018

Northeast Today

Congress Fields Chakma Candidates in Mizoram

Congress Fields Chakma Candidates in Mizoram
October 29
16:00 2018

NET Bureau

Two Chakma leaders figure in the final list of candidates declared by the ruling Congress for the November 28 polls in Mizoram, ignoring a diktat of coordination committee of major Mizo community-based NGOs.

The Congress had on October 11 declared a list of 36 candidates, leaving out four constituencies, including two Chakma-dominated constituencies. The Congress made it clear that it is fielding Chakma candidates when it released the final list on Thursday.

Veteran Congress legislator Nihar Kanti Chakma will contest from his home constituency West Tuipui, while newcomer Amit Kumar Chakma will contest from Tuichawng constituency. Tuichawng was represented by Dr BD Chakma of Congress, who recently resigned and is contesting on BJP ticket.

West Tuipui in Lunglei district is said to have around 60 per cent Chakma voters and Tuichawng, in CADC, has over 90 per cent Chakmas.

Two veteran Congressmen, S Hiato, 76, and Speaker Hiphei, 81, will contest from their home constituencies Siaha and Palak respectively.

In 2017, the Mizoram NGO coordination committee, the apex body comprising major NGOs, including the Central Young Mizo Association and Mizo Zirlai Pawl, which exercise enormous influence in Mizo society, asked political parties not to field any Chakma, most of whom are branded as illegal immigrants from Bangladesh.

The NGOs coordination committee just before announcement of elections had also sent a reminder to all political parties not to field Chakma candidates.

Congress’ main rival Mizo National Front that has been watching the Congress’ move closely, is now likely to announce its Chakma candidates.

“Our stand is ‘if other parties do not field, we will also not field. But if they field, then for us, it will be like allowing to kick a penalty without a goalkeeper. We made this clear to the NGOs as well,” said Zoramthanga, former Chief Minister and president of the MNF.

The MNF has also announced its candidates leaving out the two Chakma dominated constituencies.

SOURCE: The Assam Tribune

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