Aizawl: In a setback for Congress, 20 of its legislature party members, including 3 nominated members, in Mara Autonomous District Council (MADC) have switched camp and joined the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
State BJP president Prof JV Hluna told EastMojo that the 20 members Congress Legislature Party(CLP) have merged with the saffron party, which had two members in the council, recently.
He said that the BJP has formed a new legislature party headed by former Congress leader and incumbent chief executive member (CEM) N Zakhai to stake claim to form the government in the council. “We have submitted application to the governor, who is yet to approve it,” he said.
With the new 20 members, the BJP has now 22 members in the 25-member MADC, which is quite enough to form the government.
In the last election held in May, 2017, the Congress had won simple majority by securing 17 seats while the Mizo National Front (MNF) and Mara Democratic Front (MDF) combine won seven seats. One independent candidate was also elected.
Later, the MDF severed ties with MNF and merged with the BJP in October, 2017.
Meanwhile, N Zakhai said that the decision for merger with BJP was taken after the central government promised to amend the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution to give more autonomy and direct funding to autonomous district councils.
Siaha district BJP president M Laiko also said that the CPL has merged with the saffron with a motive to strengthen the council and to seek direct funding from the Centre, which was a long standing issue in the council.
MADC is one of the three Autonomous District Councils in Mizoram meant for the Mara tribe. It was carved out of the erstwhile Pawi-Lakher Regional Council on 29 May 1971.
Initially, it was called Lakher Autonomous District Council but was later renamed to the current name in 1988.