Ahead of state elections next week, Mizoram Chief Minister Lal Thanhawla said that the BJP's suggestion that they could partner him in a post-poll alliance, effectively pulling the rug out of the Congress' feet, was "far-fetched". Claiming that he is going to "break the jinx", the 76-year-old Congress leader said he will create history by becoming the first Chief Minister to come back to power for three consecutive terms in the state.
"Congress is in a comfortable position. We will form the government for a third time which has never happened in Mizoram before. I will break that jinx," Mr Thanhawla told NDTV in an interview.
He also added that the Mizoram Congress will break the streak of electoral losses in the northeast that started with the 2014 general elections.
Speaking over the BJP's claim that the party is ready to "tie up" with him in a post-poll scenario, Mr Thanhawla quipped that BJP leaders "are welcome" to vote for the Congress.
"I have no similarity with BJP in ideology and policy, so a tie-up with BJP in a post-poll scenario is far-fetched," Mr Thanhawla, who is contesting from two seats of Serchipp and Champai, added.
The BJP has never won an assembly election in Christian-majority Mizoram. The state with a population of about 10 lakh, including nearly 7.68 lakh voters, is seen by the party as the "final frontier" in the North-East as it is in power in all other states of the region - either by winning polls or aligning with regional parties.
BJP president Amit Shah recently declared that Mizoram will celebrate Christmas this December under BJP rule.
Assam's Finance Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, who is also the BJP's in-charge for Mizoram elections, suggested that the party is keeping all its options open.
While the Congress remains a rival, the party could explore post-polls options with Chief Minister Lal Thanhawla, said Mr Sarma.
"It is not like that MNF is the only option for post-poll alliance," he said.
He told NDTV, "I say this because in Mizoram, Congress has a separate constitution. It has a unique history. As a party, its constitution is different from the rest of the country. Lal Thanhawla can take independent decisions. We are friendly with the chief minister as an individual."
Mizoram votes for its 40-member assembly on November 28. The results will be declared on December 11, along with those in four other states where assembly elections are taking place.
Follow NDTV for latest election news and live coverage of assembly elections 2019 in Maharashtra and Haryana.
Subscribe to our YouTube channel, like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter and Instagram for latest news and live news updates.