New Delhi: Elections are due early next year in three northeastern states of Nagaland, Meghalaya and Tripura.
The BJP’s show was exemplary in Tripura five years back when it could oust the Marxist dispensation and was quite satisfactory in Nagaland, where the BJP party could pick up 12 seats out of only 20 it contested. However, the performance in Meghalaya was hardly good as the party had won only two seats. There were several factors for the same.
In the run-up to the next year’s polls in Meghalaya, the party hopes it will be able to make a deeper penetration.
“We are working on plans. The party’s acceptance has increased manifold. Now no longer the BJP is seen as an anti-Christian body or so,” BJP national vice president in-charge of Meghalaya, M. Chuba Ao, told ‘Organiser’.
“I have visited some key assembly segments in both urban and remote areas. People have high expectations from our party. People want clean politics, pro-people administration and improved and responsible administration,” Ao said.
Being a Naga and a former state unit chief, Chuba says he travelled in several parts of the Meghalaya capital Shillong areas and hastened to add, “You should not be surprised if we manage to make a significant impact in four-five assembly segments out of seven in Shillong region itself.”
Answering a question, he said, “No final decision has been taken on the number of seats the party will contest, or it will contest only some seats in alliance with other NEDA partners. But overall, the BJP is going to have a great show.”
To another question, he said, “The central government’s performance and Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s personal image are major assets of my party, and we will exploit that in the elections.”
The BJP’s state-specific moves often surprise allies and observers alike. In recently held Manipur polls, BJP contested all 60 seats without its regional partners NPP and NPF.
It is not yet clear what strategies the party will take regarding Nagaland or Tripura, or even Meghalaya.
There are broad hints of going it alone in Nagaland, too, but a lot will depend on the next few months and how the Naga peace talks pursue.
In Tripura, BJP’s ally for 2018 was the Indigenous Peoples Front of Tripura (IPFT), which had won 8 of the mainly tribal seats. It had contested only nine seats. BJP had contested the remaining 51 seats and won 36.
In Meghalaya, the BJP shares power with the NPP, whose leader Conrad Sangma heads the government as the Chief Minister. In Meghalaya, BJP contested 47 seats, and its vote share was 9.6 per cent.
Several leaders from other parties are joining the BJP, he said.
While the once-dominant Congress had bagged 21, the National People’s Party (NPP) had managed to win 20.
The United Democratic Party (UDP) had won 6, and there were three Independents, the People’s Democratic Front (PDF) had won 4, the Hill State People’s Democratic Party (HSPDP) could pick up two, while the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and another state-based party, Khun Hynniewtrep National Awakening Movement (KHNAM) walked away with one seat each.