- BJP, Congress joined hands to run Mizoram's Chakma tribal council
- The two have come together to keep the Mizo National Front out of power
- No party had a majority in this month's council elections
No party had a majority in this month's elections to the Chakma Autonomous District Council that was set up in 1972 to let the Buddhist tribal community govern themselves.
The ruling Congress had ended up with just six seats in the 20-member council and the BJP had five. The MNF, a constituent of BJP-led North East Democratic Alliance, was the largest party in the council, with eight seats.
Amit Shah, the BJP president had done the math in Delhi and it seemed obvious that the BJP and the MNF would come to power.
Mizoram is the last of the northeastern states where the Congress is still in power. The BJP is determined that the Congress doesn't come to power when state elections are held later this year. The elections to the council -- which has jurisdiction over nearly 650 square km that is home to 45,000 people, half of the state's Chakma population - was seen as a bellwether for the assembly elections.
Local Congress leaders 130 km south of state capital Aizawl, however, were able to persuade the BJP's elected leaders to make a different choice.
As part of this deal, it has given the BJP leaders the council's chairman's post and settled for the deputy's post.
"We are shocked," a BJP leader in Aizawl told NDTV, complaining that the Congress appeared to have succeeded in getting their representatives to switch sides.
The Congress has not formally 'stake claim' to form the new council. A party leader said this was only a matter of time.
State Sports Minister and Congress leader Zodintluanga said the post-poll alliance was forged after local leaders of both the parties reached an agreement. But the friendship, he underlined, would not have any bearing in Delhi or in the coming election to the state assembly, according to news agency Press Trust of India.
Congress leaders also concede that its success in snatching the council from the MNF-BJP combine, however, did not take away the work that party leaders would need to put in to ensure that it doesn't lose the assembly elections the same way.
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