opinion | Northeast results: Cheers for BJP, lesson for Congress

opinion |  North-East results: Cheers for BJP, lesson for
Image source: India TV opinion | Northeast results: Cheers for BJP, lesson for Congress

The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party on Thursday won a clear majority in the Tripura Assembly elections, while the NDPP-BJP alliance swept the polls in Nagaland. In Meghalaya, which delivered a hung assembly, the ruling NPP led by Chief Minister Conrad Sangma emerged as the single largest party and is set to form the government again with the support of the BJP.

Addressing party workers outside the BJP headquarters in Delhi, Prime Minister Narendra Modi thanked the voters of the three states and lashed out at the opposition. There were slogans of ‘Modi teri kabr khudegi’, but the people of the north-east have chosen the lotus (BJP symbol), he said. “Some fanatics (fanatics) were saying ‘mar ja Modi’, but the country is saying ‘mat ja Modi’ (Modi don’t go).

Modi said that the BJP has won the hearts of the people of the Northeast. Modi said, “Now, the North-East is neither far from Delhi nor from ‘Dil’ (heart). I wonder why people in the opposition did not allege EVM (Electronic Vote Machine) glitches this time “

The Prime Minister said, contrary to the perception of many that minorities avoid supporting the BJP, Thursday’s election results have made it clear that Christians in Meghalaya and Nagaland have supported his party. He hit out at Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge for saying that all three were “small states in the north-east which generally go along with the trend of the central government”.

By saying this, the Congress President has insulted the people’s mandate. Modi said that because of this mentality of belittling the northeastern states, the Congress party is continuously losing elections.

The Prime Minister said that earlier BJP was called ‘Bania Party’ and ‘Hindi Belt Party’, but the people of North-East have now chosen BJP. He promised that one day the BJP government would be formed in Kerala as well.

In Tripura, the BJP won 32 of the total 60 assembly seats, while in Nagaland the BJP won 12 seats, while its ally National Democratic Progressive Party (NDPP) won 25, giving the alliance a total of 60 seats. Got a clear majority in the Legislative Assembly. In Meghalaya, Chief Minister Conrad Sangma’s National People’s Party (NPP) won 26 seats, while the BJP won two. Sangma is going to form the government with the support of some other smaller parties in the 60-member House.

The Congress failed to open its account in Nagaland, while in Meghalaya it won five seats, and in Tripura it won only three despite forming an alliance with the CPI(M), which won 11 seats. A new regional party, the Tipra Motha Party, led by former ruler Pradyot Dev Barman, won 13 seats.

Narendra Modi never misses a big stroke in the game of politics. He knows the art of turning political rivals’ attacks into opportunities. He clearly told the Congress that the party itself is getting smaller day by day by calling the North-Eastern states as ‘small’.

The electoral victory in the North-East is the result of Modi’s long-term strategy. When he became the PM in 2014, there was not a single state in the Northeast where the BJP was in power. Only in Arunachal Pradesh in 2003 BJP formed the government for a short time. After becoming the PM, Modi focused on development in the North-East and tried to integrate the North-Eastern states into the national mainstream. As a result, the largest northeastern state, Assam, was captured by the BJP, where the party won two consecutive assembly elections, and now, in Tripura, the party has registered a second victory in a row.

Currently, the BJP and its allies run governments in six of the eight states in the Northeast. This is an achievement. Some people say that even all the eight states of the Northeast cannot be compared to any major state in the North, West or South. They ask whether Modi can reap political benefits at the national level.

I think a victory in the North Eastern states is definitely going to yield good political dividends. One, the BJP will come out of its old image of being a party of the Hindi heartland. Two, the Northeast has 25 Lok Sabha seats and these seats matter during next year’s Lok Sabha elections.

Now the question is, why has the Congress, which once had a huge influence in the Northeast, reduced to a smaller party? The answer lies in the casual approach of the party. The Congress leadership sitting in Delhi is trying to understand the Northeast. She is neither in constant touch with the local leadership nor listens to their advice. The latest example is Pradyot Dev Burman, former ruler of Tripura and head of the Tipra Motha party. He was insulted and had to leave the Congress.

In an interview on India TV, soon after the Tripura results were out, Pradyot Dev Burman said, ‘If the Congress wants to take on the BJP, Rahul Gandhi will have to change his mindset and his advisors. Instead of sitting at home listening to advisors who defeat their party, they should listen to leaders working on the ground. Only then Congress can survive, otherwise events like Bharat Jodo Yatra will not help.

The Congress leadership is still not ready to listen to the sensible advice. The party leadership says it lost in Tripura, Nagaland and Meghalaya due to “local factors”. In Tripura, traditionally Left voters did not vote for the Congress, while in Meghalaya, Mamata Banerjee’s TMC spoiled the Congress’s prospects and indirectly helped the BJP.

After the election results came on Thursday, Mamta Banerjee said that her party will not join any alliance for the Lok Sabha elections to be held next year. “Those who want to defeat the BJP, let them support us,” he said.

In Tripura, his party failed to open its account despite getting less than one per cent vote share. He attributed his party’s defeat in Bengal’s Sagardighi Assembly bypoll to the “unethical alliance” between the Congress and the BJP.

Mamta Banerjee said, ‘If we count the vote percentage of BJP, then the party has transferred its vote to Congress.’ In Sagardighi, Congress candidate Byron Biswas defeated TMC rival Devashish Banerjee by a margin of 23,000 votes, while BJP candidate Dilip Saha came third with 25,793 votes. The defeat in Sagardighi, a Muslim-majority constituency, is certainly a setback for Mamata Banerjee.

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