The Bhartiya Janata Party led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) is all set to form governments in the three states of Meghalaya, Nagaland, and Tripura which went to the polls recently. As was expected the BJP and its allies overrode anti-incumbency if there was any to be able to form a government in each of these states.
While elections in Meghalaya and Nagaland were held on February 27, the state of Tripura went to the polls on February 16.
The mandate which clearly is in favour of the BJP or what has been described by Nagaland’s Temjen Imna Along as a vote for “Brand Modi” and for “the double engine Sarkar,” is important for the NDA as it prepared for the 2024 general elections. Surely, the outcome would have emboldened the party and its alliance partners all over the country as it gets a clear momentum going into the big contest.
Many experts and election analysts have termed it as the first of the two semi-finals for the party as it prepares for the general election. And truly so, as the elections to the three north eastern states were extremely important testing grounds for the party. The fact that the BJP has on its own done well in Nagaland, a Christian majority state, says a lot about the party’s election management and planning for the general elections.
In contrast, the Indian National Congress (INC) looks in complete disarray and has only itself to blame for its poor showing in all the three. States, particularly in Meghalaya and Nagaland where it once held power for long periods. In fact, the Congress was the only national party that people would identify with.
Although, it is too early to say whether the BJP would come to power with the National People’s Party (NPP) in Meghalaya, given how the two parties went out at each other during the campaigns accusing the other of being corrupt, it always comes down to the saying “anything is possible in politics.”
The NPP is emerging as the single largest party with a projected 26 seats, it has so far won 5 seats and is leading in 20. The BJP is expected to win 3 seats on which it continues to maintain a lead.
Meghalaya has a house of 60 members, which saw eight main parties and independents take the fray. Elections were held for 59 constituencies.
Meanwhile, the BJP is not only scripting history by returning to power in alliance with the National Democratic Progressive Party (NDPP), but it has also for the first time paved the way for the first woman to enter the Nagaland Legislative Assembly. Hekani Jakhalu who contested on the NDPP ticket from Dimapur III polled 14, 2241 votes to defeat her nearest rival Azheto Zhimoni of the Lok Janshakti Party (RV) who managed to get 12705 votes.
In all the previous state Assembly elections, no woman had been elected and therefore, the win makes a huge statement especially in Nagaland where women otherwise occupy various important positions in different sectors and within the civil society.
As counting of votes was in progress Nagaland Temjen Imna told the Republic TV, that “brand Modi is selling in Nagaland,” and that the people of Nagaland “have chosen a double-engine government. People voted for peace and development. The people of Nagaland have wholeheartedly accepted the BJP-NDPP alliance. Under the chief ministership of Neiphiu Rio, we will get the mandate and form the government.”
In Tripura, the BJP under the leadership of Chief Minister Manik Saha has crossed the halfway mark in the 60 member house. The mandate in Tripura clearly reiterates that incumbency has not been a factor in the elections. In fact, the BJP is projected to win 33 seats, followed by the Tipra Mootha Party with 12 seats and the Communist Party of India (Marxist) with 11 seats.