New Delhi, March 3: It was the Congress' strongest hold, today there is a saffron tsunami in the Northeast India. On Saturday, as election result trends indicate that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is all set to form the next government in Tripura and Nagaland with its alliance partners and is likely to be a part of the government formation in Meghalaya too if it could cobble up an alliance with regional parties, an "embarrassed" Congress tried to save its face by hiding behind excuses.
According to a senior leader of the Congress, the BJP has been successful in the Northeast because the voters of the region "lean towards the party in power at the Centre".
"This is nothing new. For 40 years I have seen the Northeast lean towards the party in power at the Centre. But in Meghalaya, it seems we will be able to retain the state," senior Congress leader Ashok Gehlot was quoted as saying by NDTV.
In its time of defeat, the Congress president Rahul Gandhi is missing from action. On Thursday, Rahul took to Twitter to inform that he's going to spend his Holi with his maternal grandmother (nani). She stays in Italy. Rahul's mother and former Congress president Sonia Gandhi originally hails from Italy.
My Nani is 93. She’s the kindest soul ever. This Holi weekend, I’m going to surprise her! I can’t wait to give her a hug.... #HappyHoli to all of you. Have a joyful celebration..— Office of RG (@OfficeOfRG) March 1, 2018
It is not for the first time that Rahul has gone missing from action amid high-voltage political drama. In the past, on several occasions, even when Parliament was in session, Rahul went for vacation. While there is nothing wrong in holidaying, but the timing has raised eyebrows, once again.
In Meghalaya, where the Congress is in power for the last 15 years has managed to win 16 seats and is leading in six other seats (while filing this report). If the trends are correct, then the Congress will bag 22 seats in the 60-member Assembly. For any party or an alliance to form the government, it needs at least 30 seats, which means the Congress has to rely on the regional parties.
But there are chances that the National People's Party (NPP) of Conrad Sangma, son of former Lok Sabha Speaker PA Sangma, which too has won 16 seats and is leading in two others might form the government with the backing of the BJP and other regional parties and independents. The NPP is the BJP's partner in the North East Democratic Alliance (NEDA), a conglomeration of regional parties and the saffron party in the region.
As far as Tripura is concerned, the Congress is nowhere. The entire battle is a fight between the incumbent Left Front government and the BJP. The BJP and its alliance partner, the Indigenous People's Front of Tripura (IPFT), are all set to sweep the polls in the 60-member Assembly by winning 41 seats as indicated by the trends.
In Nagaland again, the BJP and its alliance partner, the Nationalist Democratic Progressive Party (NDPP), are leading in 27 seats and have won polls in three seats. In both Nagaland and Tripura the Congress has failed to win a single seat. It is not even leading in any seats in these two states. Thus its score stands at "zero" in Nagaland and Tripura.
The BJP is already in power in Assam, Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh. Now, the Congress is in power only in Mizoram in the region. Thus it is a complete sweep for Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the Northeast India. In a way, the BJP has managed to fulfill its agenda of "Congress-mukt Northeast."