This former guerrilla scripted Congress defeat
After his mentor Laldenga’s death in 1990, Zoramthanga became president of MNF.
“I am delighted. I had predicted MNF would win between 25 and 30 seats. I had also said Congress would get fewer than 10 seats. Both my predictions have come true,” said the 74-year-old Zoramthanga, the tiny hill state’s only remaining link to the 20-year long Mizo movement, which culminated in statehood.
His main agenda is a ban on liquor. “There will be a complete ban on all types of alcohol, be it the local brew or IMFL. This menace is killing our people,” he said.
Born in 1944 at Samthang village in Champhai district, Zoramthanga was the second of eight siblings. Soon after completing graduation from DM College in Manipur, he was drawn to the Mizo movement. In 1959, the indomitable Laldenga had formed the Mizo National Famine Front in protest against the government’s apathy to the famine the state was facing. By 1966, the organisation was up in arms against the government.
Zoramthanga was appointed Laldenga’s secretary, and, in 1979, became vice-president of the militant outfit. The Centre, meanwhile, launched a full-blown operation against the outfit, sending its members into hiding in Bangladesh. Zoramthanga, in these times, was Laldenga’s trusted aide.
In 1986, the Mizoram Accord was signed between the central government led by Rajiv Gandhi, and Laldenga. A year later, the state of Mizoram came into existence and MNF became a political party. Zoramthanga stepped out of the shadow of insurgency and into the political arena, becoming the state’s first finance and education minister.
After his mentor Laldenga’s death in 1990, Zoramthanga became president of MNF. Eight years later, he led the party to victory and became chief minister — a position he held on to for two terms. By 2008, however, the party’s popularity had taken a hit. It suffered a big loss at the hands of Congress.
Between then and now, Zoramthanga has found time to write two books — one on the Mizo movement and an autobiography. The MNF leader, as candid in his books as he is in real life, was not one to shy away from controversy, though. He wrote in his books both Pakistan and China had backed the Mizo insurgency. There are other “explosive” details, in his words, in the books that he hopes will be adapted for a Hollywood film one day.