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  • Congress mukt” Northeast : BJP seals alliances in Northeast, aims 22 seats

    Published on March 16, 2019

    By Bhupen Goswami

    Guwahati : The most important factor for the BJP’s dramatic rise in the Northeast is the simple fact of it being in power in Delhi. The Northeastern states are small, deficit-ridden states and they need a friendly government at the Centre to keep them afloat. And when the government at the Centre has a clear goal of snatching the region from the grip of its bête noire, the Congress, changing colour to saffron becomes a necessity for survival. How Women’s Reservation Remains A Bumpy Ride To Nowhere the BJP National general secretary, Ram Madhav, said the image of the Narendra Modi government as a strong and decisive government, one that gets things done, played a role. People were fed up of the Congress’s status quoist orientation.

    The energy and enthusiasm that the BJP brought to these elections and its employment of election professionals to run surveys and manage its messaging, helped.Speaking with media the BJP National general secretary, Ram Madhav, said said that unlike the RSS, the BJP is unashamedly interested in winning elections and gaining power. Sharing the dais with a slew of BJP ministers from the Northeast and RSS leaders, he was in a triumphant mood. The previous year, the BJP had won the assembly election in Assam, the most populous state in the Northeast. Manipur followed in 2017. The book, The Last Battle of Saraighat, is a chronicle of how these victories were won.Even last month, the BJP wasn’t too keen to work with the Asom Gana Parishad (AGP), which had walked out of the alliance government in Assam over the Citizenship Amendment Bill.

    But now it has not only promised a re-look of the Bill, factoring in regional concerns, fears and aspirations, it has also got back the AGP on the table for the Lok Sabha elections, hoping that commitment would cascade in assuaging its other allies in the Northeast and arrest a drift. It is a masterstroke of negotiation, which was led by BJP general secretary and Northeast in-charge Ram Madhav, that the party was able to break the AGP top leadership, even offer gubernatorial sops to founder-leader and the still adamant Prafulla Mahanta and get the Bodoland People’s Front on board. The BJP, which has been assiduously building a constituency in the Northeast by fast-tracking development as part of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Look-east policy, is seeking an electoral insurance from the region lest there be some slippage in the heartland, battling as it is popular discontent on livelihood issues. But the Bill, proposing to grant citizenship to Hindu refugees from across the border, has undone all that as any migrant influx is detrimental to Ahom identity and the socio-economic rights of indigenous people over their land. Meghalaya and Mizoram have been up in flames, too, over the Bill and the BJP has realised that it cannot alienate the region it has so carefully stitched up with its priorities. Besides, it has also understood that its “national security” narrative after the Balakot strikes, while working in North India, would not cut much ice in the Northeast, which would rather negotiate local gains for a mandate.

    So it took the central party several rounds of persuasion, with talks led by State minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, to revive a flagging friendship and go in for seat-sharing.The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has finalised its alliances in the Northeast, setting a target of winning at least 22 of the 25 Lok Sabha seats from eight states of the region, party general secretary Ram Madhav claimed on today. Mr. Madhav, the BJP’s incharge of the Northeast, held a series of discussions in Guwahati on midnight and sealed the alliances with the Asom Gana Parishad, Bodoland Peoples Front (BPF), Indigenous Peoples Front of Tripura (IPFT), National People’s Party, Nationalist Democratic Progressive Party and the Sikkim Krantikari Morcha.

    The alliances have been finalised under the North East Democratic Alliance (NEDA), the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance’s political coalition with the regional parties of the region. “This alliance has the potential of winning not less than 22 out of 25 seats in the region and play an important role in seeing Modi-ji as the PM once again,” Mr. Madhav posted on Facebook. On Tuesday, Mr. Madhav had met Nagaland Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio, Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal, Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad Sangma, Manipur Chief Minister Biren Singh, Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Pema Khandu and NEDA convenor Himanta Biswa Sarma. Mr. Madhav also met a delegation of the AGP, the led by party president Atul Bora, and finalised reunion of the former allies. “It was a hectic day of parleys yesterday in the North East. Sustained negotiations at Dimapur and Guwahati with different senior leaders. Have finally sealed the alliance and electoral understanding between the BJP and all major parties in the North East,” he added in the post. “The BJP, NPP, NDPP, AGP and BPF will fight together in Assam, Nagaland, Meghalaya, Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh with the mission of defeating Congress party at the hustings. In Tripura, the BJP will fight the elections together with IPFT, our alliance partner,” Mr. Madhav said. In Sikkim, BJP’s alliance will be with the main opposition party, Sikkim Krantikari Morcha, he added. “While the Opposition is still talking and talking about ‘Mahagatbandhan’ (grand alliance), we already have ours in place in the North East and the rest of the country. The NDA is a much stronger coalition today than before,” Mr. Madhav said.

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