Almost three years ago on May 24, 2016, BJP along with regional political parties like Naga People’s Front (NPF), Sikkim Democratic Front, and People’s Party of Arunachal, Asom Gana Parishad and Bodoland People’s Front (BPF) had formed North-East Democratic Alliance or NEDA. The motive of the new political front is to unite non-Congress parties in Northeast India, with Assam BJP leader Himanta Biswa Sarma as the convener of the front. The efforts by the party reaped political dividends as it became ruling party in few states and alliance partner in few others.
Now the party might get into power in northeastern state of Sikkim. In a major boost for the BJP, 10 MLAs of Sikkim Democratic Front (SDF) have joined BJP today. The MLAs joined the BJP today in presence of BJP’s working president JP Nadda and BJP general secretary Ram Madhav. The party has 15 MLAs in the 32 seats strong Sikkim Legislative Assembly. This has led to BJP being the main opposition party in the Sikkim assembly. Therefore it is very much possible that BJP may come to power in the state if a few legislatures from the ruling Sikkim Krantikari Morcha (SKM) decides to defect.
Delhi: 10 MLAs of Sikkim Democratic Front join BJP in presence of BJP Working President JP Nadda and General Secretary Ram Madhav pic.twitter.com/7bsdcEfdDP
— ANI (@ANI) August 13, 2019
Since PM Modi and Amit Shah took over the leadership of BJP, the party has been able to make major inroads in Northeastern states. The party repeated spectacular performance of 2014 in 2019. In fact, it improved the tally from 8 to 14 while Congress was reduced to 4 seats from 8 in the previous general election. In Assam (14 seats), the largest state in the region, the number of seats won by reached to 9 compared to 7 in previous general election. Congress and AIUDF won 3 seats each in the previous election but in 2019, Congress has been able to defend its tally but AIUDF suffered a loss of two seats. The tally of independent remained at one in the state.
In the last five years, Modi government made tremendous efforts to improve the condition in the Northeast. The Modi government has opened two bridges on Brahmaputra river in four years of its rule. The new Saraighat Bridge, built along the old rail-cum-road bridge was inaugurated by Transport minister Nitin Gadkari in 2017. Another major bridge opened by Modi government in the previous year is Dhola Sadiya Bridge (also known as Bhupen Hazarika Bridge) which connects the state of Assam to Arunachal Pradesh. The strategically located bridge is very important from the security point of view in the wake of Chinese aggression in Arunachal Pradesh.
If BJP comes to power in Sikkim, the state leadership and the government will work in coordination with central government. As most of the welfare schemes in the Northeastern states are fully funded by central government and more than three quarter of state’s revenue receipts comes as central grants, a BJP government would be better for the people of the state.