Mission Northeast: BJP sets its goals to win Meghalaya, Tripura, Nagaland elections

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Guwahati, Jan 19: It's time for elections in Northeast India.

After the Election Commission (EC) on Thursday announced the Assembly election dates for the three northeastern states--Meghalaya, Tripura and Nagaland--hectic politicking has started in the region.

bjp

The Assembly elections in Tripura will be held on February 18 while two other northeastern states of Meghalaya and Nagaland will go to polls on February 27, the EC announced.

The elections in the three states hold great importance for the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which is eyeing to capture the entire Northeast region after winning the Assembly elections in Assam in 2016 and in Manipur in 2017.

Currently, the BJP is in power in Assam, Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh in the region. However, the saffron party is aiming to strike an eight-out-of-eight score in the northeastern states, as its president Amit Shah has stated last year.

The Northeast region consists of Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya, Manipur, Mizoram, Nagaland, Tripura and Sikkim (the most recent entry into the Northeast club).

In fact, the BJP has formed an alliance with several regional parties in the Northeast called the North-East Democratic Alliance or NEDA in May 2016. The political coalition headed by the BJP has regional political parties like Naga People's Front, Sikkim Democratic Front, People's Party of Arunachal, Asom Gana Parishad and Bodoland People's Front in it.

The motive of the new political front is to protect the interest of the people of the region as well as uniting non-Congress parties in Northeast India, stated Assam minister and BJP leader Himanta Biswa Sarma. Sarma is the convenor of the front.

Since its victory in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, the BJP is giving special emphasis to the otherwise background region. The Northeast region has been a Congress bastion for long, but the BJP has managed to shake the grand old party's edifice in the region too, like in the rest of the country.

With two back-to-back wins in the Assam and Manipur Assembly elections, the BJP looks confident to win polls in Tripura, Meghalaya and Nagaland.

Explaining the party's strategy for the upcoming elections in the three northeastern states, Ram Madhav, BJP general secretary, told The Indian Express that while Tripura is most crucial, stability is a concern for the saffron leaders in Nagaland. Madhav expressed confidence of winning the elections in Meghalaya.

Currently, the Congress is in power in Meghalaya, the Left Front in Tripura and the Nagaland People's Front (NPF) in Nagaland.

Madhav, who oversees the BJP's Northeast affairs, told the English daily that in Nagaland the party wants a government that would help the Narendra Modi government take forward and amicably conclude the Naga agreement.

The BJP is currently miffed with the NPF and reports say the party might join hands with the Nationalist Democratic Progressive Party (NDPP) in the hill state.

Madhav described the Tripura polls to be the battle royale for the BJP in this round of elections. The senior BJP leader said the Left-ruled Tripura is one of the most backward states in the country.

"We firmly believe that Tripura deserves better and needs to throw out this government. That's why we have given the slogan Chalo, paltai (Come, let us change)," he said.

Exuding confidence about winning the Meghalaya polls, Madhav said, "We already have four MLAs with us and there are many potential candidates to join the BJP. We are hoping to win a good number of seats in Meghalaya to be able to be in power."

Meghalaya Assembly
Party 2013 Current Standing  
CONG 29 24 Election Date : Feb 27 2018
Counting : Mar 03 2018
IND 13 09
UDP 08 07
HSPDP 04 04
NPP 02 02
NCP 02 02
BJP 00 02
GNC 01 00
NESDP 01 01
OTHERS 00 00
Total 60 51 (9 Vacant)

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