Winning North Eastern states is paramount for BJP

Published : Apr 19, 2019 09:03 am | By: Priya Ghosh

Winning North Eastern states is paramount for BJP


With the Lok Sabha elections in full swing in various parts of the country, the BJP is hoping to be victorious securing maximum seats in all the states. For the ruling party the north eastern states of India will be crucial to help the party to form a stable and strong government once again.

With the first phase of Lok Sabha elections already kick starting in some parts of the country, the saffron party is all set to make its presence felt all across the nation and for them the north eastern states have become a crucial region in terms of securing seats. Of the seven phases, the north eastern states will have voting over two phases except for Assam. For decades the states in the north east have been neglected and each state would just send one or two members to the Lok Sabha but after PM Narendra Modi identified their potential, now collectively the states have 11 Lok Sabha seats, apart from Assam’s 14. The BJP has been trying to collaborate with regional outfits and rope in young leaders from the Congress and several other parties. In 2016, the BJP and few regional parties  formed the North-East Democratic Alliance (NEDA) .

The performance of the ruling party was good especially in Assam when it won seven seats in 2014. with a vote share of 36.50 percent. The BJP gained at the expense of the Congress which slipped to 3 seats,  Now the party has hopes that it will get at least 12 MP’s.   The BJP allies hope to secure additional seats from the other seven states and the party believes that it might get number of seats as many as 19 to 21. Winning these numbers of seats would be very essential for the party.

 However the BJP will have some challenges which it has to overcome. For instance it suffered a setback in the region,  after the announcement of  the Citizenship amendment Bill and had to face very strong opposition from not just the student bodies but also few members of the BJP led North East Democratic Alliance have opposed to the Bill. For the past decades the region has been living in the fear of illegal immigrants dominating and with the Bill being passed people in the region feel that there will be a Hindus from Bangladesh flocking into the region who in turn will pose a threat to the indigenous communities.  There had been a simmering sense of anger amongst the people in the north eastern region since the implementation of the National Register of Citizens. It blew up with the Citizenship Amendment Bill.

Another setback for the party in this region is when  23 of its leaders left the party ., 20 BJP leaders, including two ministers and six MLAs, joined the National People’s Party (NPP) in Arunachal Pradesh.  The strength of the NPP has become 13 in the assembly after this move and the BJP has 40 MLAs in the 60-member House. Another drastic change was when  BJP state vice-president Subal Bhowmik joined the Congress in Tripura.  Not just him but there were other two leaders Prakash Das and firebrand leader Debashish Sen who also joined the Congress.

The BJP is hoping to make electoral gains in the north-eastern regions of the country after it suffered major losses in the heartland states and to compensate the losses it requires to gain momentum in this region.  the BJP’s act east policy became interesting when it comfortably made its way in Assam, Tripura, Arunachal Pradesh and Manipur.  The party is a part of the alliance which are the  National People’s Party (NPP) and the National Democratic Progressive Party (NDPP), respectively. Also in Mizoram and Sikkim, the BJP is not part of the ruling governments, but is part of the NEDA that supports the NDA at the Centre.

PM Modi has focused on the northeast constantly and made it clear that the region is of high priority. The BJP led government has taken various steps to better the situation of the region. The cabinet has taken various initiatives transiting from the Look East to the Act East policy, a lot of money has been incorporated for the development and maintenance of road and highways in the region. So there is a high possibility that the Mizoram National Front Party will not cut ties with the NDA at the Centre, despite of the issues which have emerged as challenges for the ruling party like the disagreement on issues like beef consumption  and the Citizen Amendment Bill.

In Assam the BJPand the Asom Gana Parshad (AGP) have pleddged to work together to defeat the Congress in the state. The decision was madew two months after members of the AGP withdrew support to the BJP government as a mark of protest against the Modi government’s decision to push the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill across North East.

 In terms of retaining power at the centre, the state of Assam will play a crucial role in  the NDA’s strategy. After making significant inroads in the north eastern region, the BJP The BJP is looking at winning 21 out of 25 Lok Sabha seats in Assam and other north-eastern states.  At present the party has its own chief ministers in Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur and Tripura. It is very essential that the saffron party retains its popularity in this region and emerge successful.



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