Anti-incumbency, NLUP plus points of Congress in Mizoram

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Aizawl, Nov 30 (UNI) With the anti-incumbency wave sweeping the state, and promise to implement the revised version of New Land Use Policy, the Indian National Congress has a strong chance of coming back to power in Mizoram.

''When the Congress was facing the 1998 state Assembly elections after being in power for the previous two terms, we were 90 per cent sure of retaining power for the third consecutive term, unaware of the anti-incumbency wave. But we met with total defeat. The same will happen to the ruling MNF this time,'' Pradesh Congress general secretary and former minister Chawngkunga said here today.

As many as 40 per cent of the electorate in Mizoram are neutral and not affiliated to any political party, Mr Chawngkunga claimed.

''The neutral voters, who are the biggest deciding factor, have had enough of the ruling MNF and they will ensure that the MNF is not coming back in the office,'' he claimed.

''The performance of the Congress-led UPA government at the Centre and the recent visit of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi and AICC general secretary Rahul Gandhi to Mizoram have attracted Mizo voters to the Congress party,'' he claimed.

Besides, the Congress has its coveted New Land Use Policy (NLUP) - a ''revised version'' - up its sleeve.

The NLUP, which the Prime Minister and UPA chairperson have promised to implement with a ''special Central package'', offers Rs one lakh each to the 2.5 lakh families, who are still dependent on shifting cultivation in Mizoram.

''We have roughly estimated that over 2.5 lakh families are still depending on the primitive shifting cultivation, who slash and burn over 21 lakh hectares of forests each year. The NLUP will not only give permanent occupation to these jhummias, but also save Mizoram from deforestation,'' R Selthuama, architect of the NLUP and Congress candidate for Aizawl West-II candidate, said.

The NLUP had been initiated during the previous Congress Ministries from 1990-1998, but failed to liberate the farmers from poverty.

''This time we will set up monitoring cell in each village, which will ensure that the beneficiaries judiciously use the fund. We will also legislate a law to punish those misusing the NLUP fund. We will ensure cent per cent success,'' Mr Selthuama, a retired rural development director, said.

The Congress promises to renew the Tuirial hydel project, the Falkawn Referral Hospital and many other projects which the MNF ''ruined'' during its ten-year rule.

UNI ZS DPM GL NS1728

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