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Will bypoll results impact Northeast?

Special Correspondent
Silchar, June 3: A question now being hotly discussed and debated in political circles is, how far will the results of just concluded Lok Sabha and assembly bypolls in different states of the country impact the prospect of BJP in particular in northeast where it has the reins of power in all the 7 states except Mizoram. The next Parliamentary elections are slated for in May 2019. From all reckoning, it will be between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the grand alliance of anti BJP parties which include Congress, Trinamul Congress, NCP, SP, BSP, RLD, left combine of CPM and CPI as well as regional splinter groups.

BJP is yet to recover from the shocks and jolts of its continued losses. The greatest shocker was from Uttar Pradesh where it lost LS seats of Phulpur, Gorakhpur and Kairana, considered its bastion. Of the four Lok Sabha seats, BJP could retain Palghar in Maharashtra and its ally NDDP the lone seat in Nagaland. And of the 11 assembly seats, the saffron party had to content with winning in the Tharali constituency of Uttarakhand only. It is not only the cascading loss of seats only but also the erosion in the party’s vote shares.

In fact, formation of coalition government by Congress and JDS in Karnataka has set the tone and tenor of grand alliance against Modi and this single most factor has brought the warring factions together to hold on. It is not all about the reverses only. For BJP, the redeeming feature has been its upswing in the last panchayat elections and the Maheshtala assembly poll where it has beaten behind CPM and Congress to be on the second position after the ruling Trinamul. This is considered significant in West Bengal where opposition in general has been at the receiving end with state sponsored violence.

Mamata Banerjee has rather taken both Congress and CPM for a ride in the name of forming non BJP government in 2019 at the Centre. Political analysts against the present backdrop of BJP’s sliding down of seats favour grand alliance as an alternative to NDA. Of course, they at the same time are skeptical about it in the context of their inner contradictions and most important the reluctance of great stakeholders like Mamata Banerjee to accept Rahul Gandhi as their supreme leader. North east with 25 Lok Sabha seats holds out a different scenario from the rest part of the country as elections here are not fought on the basis of caste and creed but on issues, local and national, ethnicity and amelioration of their socio-economic condition.

There is no conglomeration of forces as represented by Jaat-Yadav-Muslim in central India and as seen more brazenly in the by elections. BJP’s assertive win in Tripura with the help of a tribal body has come as a shot in its arm. It is also no less significant that the saffron party is in power in the Christian dominated states of Nagaland and Meghalaya.

Political analysts do not rule out its ride to power in yet another Christian state of Mizoram if MNF or PC or both back the saffron party to dislodge Congress with strong anti incumbency factor running high.
Assembly poll in Mizoram will be held in 2019. In Assam with 14 LS seats where BJP is in power with its allies AGP and BPPF is no doubt in a tight situation with the spectre of Citizenship Amendment Bill hanging before it. AGP is vehemently against the Bill and in the event of withdrawal of support by it to the Sarbananda Sonowal Government; Congress waiting on the wing will seize the opportunity added by AGP and AIUDF. Such prospect is further boosted by the anti Modi grand alliance. On the whole, the results of by polls and the grand alliance despite a lot of riders on it have no doubt thrown a tough challenge to saffron party in north east.

About the author

Ankur Kalita