One of the final frontiers has fallen. The North-East, a region where the BJP hadn’t won significantly ever has finally fallen with Tripura, Meghalaya, and Nagaland going the saffron way.
When we look at BJP’s victory in the North-East, however, few, nay rather a lot of questions pop up in our minds. Here, we’ve tried to answer a few of them.
THE CURIOUS CASE OF BJP’S VICTORY IN TRIPURA
How did the BJP claim power in a state ruled by the Left for the past 25 years and where the Congress had a 36.5% vote share?
In Tripura, BJP and its ally IPFT (Indigenous People’s Front of Tripura) won 35 and 8 constituencies respectively, out of a total of 60.
1. BJP president Amit Shah sent Sunil Deodhar (BJP’s state-in-charge in Tripura) to Tripura in 2014 itself, when no one had its eyes on the elections coming in 2018. Sunil tapped public resentment over unemployment, slow development and lack of opposition against the communist party.
2. Ideologically a rigid party, this time, BJP showed great flexibility by either remaining silent or being happy to scratch off its persistence on a beef ban in the North-East (and Kerala), in order to win over the majority beef-eating Christians in these areas.
3. Often titled as the “Hindu Heartland Party”, BJP also tried to shake off its image of being anti-Christian. In one of his election rallies, Prime Minister Modi cited that most nuns rescued from conflict zones like Yemen were Christian, as was the missionary saved in Afghanistan.
4. The victory in Assam helped, as well. Volunteer strength went up from being 10,000 before the Assam election results to 2.5 lakhs after, thus strengthening BJP’s structure.
5. Way ahead of the elections, BJP allegedly went out of its way and poached all six TMC MLAs and one of the three Congress legislators. Uttar Pradesh’s chief minister, Yogi Adityanath, too was roped in, to campaign in these areas, where there were a huge number of his followers. This group had been demanding OBC status, which had always been rejected by CPI(M).
WHAT HAPPENED IN NAGALAND?
BJP played cunning here, as well. It remained with the party in power- NPF (Naga People’s Front), which won 27 votes by itself, and 29 votes in coalition with NPP. When a breakaway group of BJP, calling itself Nationalist Democratic Progressive Party won 16 votes, then BJP (with 12 votes), NDPP, and Independent, with the support of JD(U)- which won 1 vote, reached the 31 mark in the 60-member assembly. Congress did not win even a single seat.
|From the Election Commission of India|
MEGHALAYA – GOA: EPISODE 2?
Even though Congress took precautions to bar the Goa and Manipur episodes from happening again, by calling in Ahmed Patel, Kamal Nath and CP Joshi, as soon as the election results started dropping in, what put them at a detriment was the fact that BJP was already linked to the regional parties which Congress had its eyes on.
Congress was in power for almost a decade, but it still failed to bring the regional powers to its side. Just like NPP is BJP’s partner at the centre, UDP is partners with a regional version of NDA, headed by BJP strategist Himanta Biswa Sarma.
Similarly, UDP was an electoral ally of HSPDP. BJP secretly assisted NPP, the main regional opponent in Meghalaya, and with the support of a host of independents, it succeeded in sweeping Congress out of the door in Meghalaya, as well.
WORRYING SIGNS FOR MOMOTA DI?
BJP has always had its eyes on West Bengal, considering its motive of “emotional and political integration” of the country. Now tha it is in power at the centre and with healthy coffers, it pursues its ambition with greater force. Though according to Mamta Bannerjee, BJP is acting “like a cockroach that has extended its wings, trying to be a peacock”, she should probably be worried about losing her throne to them. Here’s why:
1. Tripura and Bengal are not very different from each other, both having a majority of Bengali-speaking Hindu populations.
2. Trinamool Congress cannot ally with the Left because that’s the party it defeated and got power in the Elections of 2011.
3. With Bengal being the hub of immigration, Mamta should probably be worried as
BJP runs on a platform of anti-immigration.
4. BJP is settling on the same of plan of action that worked in Tripura, for West Bengal too, that is, door-to-door campaigns in the 77,000 booths.
DOES THE NORTH-EASTERN VICTORY MEAN SUCCESS IN KARNATAKA, TOO?
BJP might not have a chance to win Karnataka since there are no new cards such as Sunil Deodhar and Himanta Biswa Sarma that it could play here, it is the same old Yeddyurappa and the same old Siddaramaiah.
Undoubtedly, the BJP is zealously approaching the Karnataka elections with the spirit to conquer it. The Northeastern people wanted a change and thus gave a chance to BJP with the slogan “Chalo Paltai” (Let’s Change).
How the Karnataka Elections unfold will completely depend on its people. Definitely, with the BJP at power in the Centre, and with its recent achievements, not only in the North-East but also of forming a government in 21 out of 29 states, it is in a good position.
Congress has put on a flat face even after defeat after defeat, it’s high time that it realizes that BJP is going to give it a tough competition even in the places where it has a majority.
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