Northeast India is the land of seven sisters – Assam, Meghalaya, Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Manipur, Mizoram, and Tripura. Out of these, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is in power in four – Assam, Tripura, Arunachal Pradesh, and Manipur. The others are Christian-majority states. In Manipur, the Hindu and Christian population is equally divided into 41 per cent each, making the BJP’s success in the state possible. Nonetheless, the saffron party is a major player in all seven North-eastern states. To top it all, it leads the North-Eastern Democratic Alliance (NEDA) – a coalition of non-Congress regional parties in the region.
That gives the BJP a distinct advantage of controlling the politics of the region. The BJP’s tallest leader in the region – Himanta Biswa Sarma has not just turned Assam into a stronghold of the party but is also tirelessly working to ensure that the region is turned into an impregnable fortress for the BJP. This is to say that the BJP is working on a clear strategy – that of preventing the Congress from coming back to power in any of the region’s seven states.
BJP’s Return in Manipur and the Road Ahead
Recently, the BJP made a grand entry back to power for the second consecutive term in Manipur – a first for the party in the state. BJP has managed to win a simple majority with 32 seats. Deciding to contest polls alone on all 60 seats, BJP amassed 37.8% of the votes.
The BJP’s impressive performance in Manipur came in the back of the saffron party registering a win in Assam last year. Now, in early 2023, Meghalaya, Nagaland and Tripura go to the polls. Later next year, Mizoram will also have its assembly elections. Out of these, the BJP will win Tripura by a handsome margin. In Meghalaya, it will increase its vote share, while Congress will fail to register a win in any of the states.
PM Modi and his vision for Northeast
PM Modi and his vision regarding the North East has been crystal clear. Early into his tenure, he had declared, “If the western region of the country can develop, if other regions of the country can develop, I see no reason why the North East region of the country cannot develop. I am also convinced that India can move forward if all the regions develop including the North East region.”
He further added, “The North East region is also very important to us for strategic reasons. And it is my conviction that we have to bring this region at par with the other developed regions of the country.”
PM Modi is devoting thousands of crores of rupees towards building key roads, bridges and other infrastructure in the Northeast. The plan is to build robust transportation infrastructure in the Northeast and to connect the region with the rest of the country in a seamless manner. In fact, the Northeast will soon also serve as India’s gateway to Southeast Asia.
This is in line with boosting the tourism economy of the region and ensuring that the Northeast is no longer treated as an isolated and pariah region.
An exciting electoral season is lined up for North-eastern states. The people see the kind of development that has taken place in the past eight years, and they will reward the BJP for the same. The Congress seems to have lost the region forever. Not very long ago, the region was a bastion of the Grand Old Party. Today, it has turned into a fortress of the BJP, because the saffron party has strengthened itself in the region, apart from working out a wide array of strong alliances with crucial regional players.