One last innings for Brig Sailo

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Aizawl, Nov 25 (UNI) Under any circumstance, 86 is not the right age for any chief ministerial aspirant. But that has no meaning and bearing on this man who has seen all and arguably the senior most active politician in the whole of the Northeastern region after Manipur MP Rishang Keishang.

His name is Brigadier T Sailo. When he retired from the Indian Army, late Rajiv Gandhi was not even in politics. But the man who changed olive uniform with tweed coat to serve the Mizo society had continued to be a towering pillar for Mizo politics.

The tireless soldier, who was twice the Chief Minister of Mizoram, is back again and probably for the final time seeking vote from his beloved Mizo people.

''This will be the last time I am seeking vote and this time I am confident that people of Mizoram have understood what damage the MNF had done to the hilly state in the past one decade, '' he said.

The grand old man was the pivotal figure of the non Congress opposition as he cobbled together three regional parties for a grand alliance to emerge as the third alternative in Mizoram election. The third player is the United Democratic Alliance (UDA), comprising the Zoram Nationalist Party (ZNP), the Mizoram People's Conference (MPC) and the Zoram Kuthnathawktu Pawl (ZKP), a platform of farmers. The UDA's presence has made it difficult for psephologists to predict an outcome.

The Brigadier himself is the chief ministerial candidate for the UDA and contesting from one of the Aizawl city seat. Brig Sailo had a brief stint as Chief Minister in his first tenure from June 2, 1978, to November 10, 1978, but held the office for a full term from 1979 to 1984. Mizoram was at that time a Union Territory.

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