Mizoram’s ruling Congress party on Monday expelled R. Lalzirliana, three days after the veteran politician resigned as the poll-bound State’s Home Minister.Mr. Lalzirliana, a vice president of the party’s State unit, was regarded as the most influential Congress leader in Mizoram after Chief Minister Lal Thanhawla, who would be completing his second successive term when elections to the 40-member assembly are held by the year end.“We had to issue the expulsion order for the larger interest of the party and under the present circumstances,” C. Lalpianthanga, chairman of the disciplinary action committee of the Congress’s Mizoram State unit said in a statement, explaining the rationale behind the party’s decision. Mr. Lalpianthanga added that the party had tried to avoid expelling Mr. Lalzirliana, 69, who had been a “pillar of strength” and a “guiding force”.The Mizoram Pradesh Congress Committee (MPCC) had on September 14 served a show-cause notice to Mr. Lalzirliana — hours before he announced his resignation from the State Cabinet — asking him to clarify several statements reportedly made by him to the local media that could ‘affect the integrity’ of the party.There has been speculation in the local media in recent days that Mr. Lalzirliana may be set to join a rival party, with the most widely talked about possibility being the Mizo National Front (MNF). The MNF is a member of the North East Development Alliance of regional parties helmed by the Bharatiya Janata Party.While MNF president and former chief minister Zoramthanga has indicated Mr. Lalzirliana could join his party, speculation of a possible move to the National People’s Party also gathered momentum after Meghalaya’s Deputy Chief Minister Prestone Tynsong called on him at his residence in Aizawl last week.Mr. Lalzirliana, who is yet to spell out his plans, has, however, insisted that the recent chain of events had been triggered by his unwillingness to compromise over his demand for declaring Saitual and the area it administers a full-fledged district.“The Chief Minister had promised to upgrade Saitual into a district but failed to do so,” he said.Saitual is the major town of Tawi constituency that Mr. Lalzirliana has represented for four terms.Separately, the portfolios handled by the expelled leader including the crucial Home, Excise and Power ministries were put under the direct charge of Chief Minister Lal Thanhawla, according to a notification from the State government.
What MPs and political managers of the Congress and Trinamool Congress could not achieve, a Bollywood star managed.Mithun Chakraborty played the role of a mediator between Pranab Mukherjee and Mamata Banerjee, winning the Congressman the support of the mercurial Trinamool chief in the presidential election, it has emerged.And if the buzz in West Bengal’s political circles is to be believed, the actor could represent Trinamool in the Rajya Sabha.Few would know that Mithun and Mukherjee share a rapport that was born four decades ago. The Congress’s ‘man for all seasons’ has admiration for the Bengali who achieved stardom in Bollywood. In turn, Mithun has high regard for one of the tallest politicians from his state.Mithun, who once enjoyed cordial ties with late West Bengal CM Jyoti Basu and sports minister Subhas Chakraborty, is equally comfortable with Mukherjee.It may be recalled that in 2005, when Mukherjee was the defence minister in UPA-I, he had recommended Mithun for the Padma Shri. In 2009, the star campaigned for Mukherjee for the Lok Sabha polls in Jangipur, from where the Congressman was seeking re-election.And when the Congress was hoping against hope to receive support from the Trinamool for the July 19 presidential poll, Mithun played the role of the go-between.Mithun, who also shares cordial ties with the temperamental Banerjee, touched an emotional chord with her and advised her to support the veteran Congress leader.While Mukherjee was busy campaigning in other states, Mithun was on the job of bringing the Trinamool chief and the UPA presidential candidate closer.advertisementIt is understood that before Banerjee did a U-turn and announced her party’s support for Mukherjee two days before the elections, Mithun had communicated the Trinamool’s decision to the Congress leader.Mithun was personally invited by Mukherjee to attend the swearing-in ceremony on Wednesday. The actor flew to the city from Kolkata along with Banerjee on a private jet that was arranged by the Congress.On Tuesday night, Mamata and Mithun, along with railway minister Mukul Roy and Trinamool MP Kunal Ghosh, drove down to 13, Talkatora Road, to meet Mukherjee.The meeting of the Bengalis was nothing short of an emotional affair!