Aizawl: The ruling Mizo National Front (MNF) on Sunday suffered a humiliating defeat in the bypoll to Serchhip assembly seat as arch rival Zoram People’s Party (ZPM) nominee Lalduhoma, whose disqualification necessitated the bypoll, retained the seat by landslide victory.

According to the poll verdict announced on Sunday, Lalduhoma secured 8,269 votes (49.82%), which is 51 per cent of the total 16, 595 polled and defeated his nearest opponent Vanlalzawma of the MNF by a margin of 3,310 votes.

Vanlalzawma bagged 5,319 (32%) votes and Congress nominee PC Laltlansanga slipped to 2,604 votes (5.69%).

BJP candidate Lalhriatrenga Chhangte and People’s Conference party contender Vanlalruata secured 250 and 38, respectively, while independent candidate Ramhlun-Edena managed to secure 43.

32 went to None of the Above (NOTA).

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According to election officials, counting of votes for the Serchhip bypoll began at 8 am on Sunday amid strict health protocols, as it is taking place amid a raging second wave of Covid-19.

More than 83 per cent votes were polled in the bypoll held on April 17, they said.

Following the complaints filed by 12 ruling legislators, Lalduhoma, who defeated incumbent chief minister and Congress president Lal Thanhawla in 2018 assembly polls, was disqualified by assembly speaker Lalrinliana Sailo in November last year under the anti-defection law.

Speaking to reporters after the declaration of result, Lalduhoma said the mandate was a “miracle” in the political history of Mizoram as opposition party hardly won assembly bypolls in the past.

Normally, assembly by-election is considered “safe seat” for the ruling party he said.

The IPS officer turned politician said it was a justice being brought to him by the people through adult suffrage.

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“It is not my own victory but the people of Serchhip constituency and our party,” the 71-year-old leader said, adding he is not just an MLA of ZPM but also a representative of the people of his constituency.

He said that the bypoll result will have better impact on the party’s prospect in the next assembly polls to be held in 2023.

He promised to do his best to make Serchhip the most developed constituency in the state.

With Lalduhoma’s victory, the ZPM has its own legislator for the first time since its inception in 2017.

Political analysts attributed “symphathy factor” to Lalduhoma’s landslide win. 

Also read: Mizoram reels under acute power crisis amid Covid-19 outbreak

In the present 40-member assembly, the MNF has 27 members, Congress -5, ZPM and BJP have 1 member each.

There are six independent legislators informally linked to the ZPM. 

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