BJP’s Imminent Cakewalk In Arunachal Assembly Boosts Party In Remaining NE States - Eastern Mirror
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BJP’s imminent cakewalk in Arunachal Assembly boosts party in remaining NE states

By IANS Updated: Apr 01, 2024 6:53 pm

ITANAGAR — With its unchallenged victory in 10 out of the 60 Assembly seats in Arunachal Pradesh, the BJP’s imminent cakewalk in the bordering state can boost the party in the remaining poll-bound Northeast states.

The Assembly elections and polling for the state’s two Lok Sabha seats — Arunachal West and Arunachal East — will be held simultaneously on April 19.

Apart from the 25 Lok Sabha constituencies in the eight northeastern states, elections would be held for the remaining 50 Assembly seats in Arunachal Pradesh and 32 Assembly seats in Sikkim.

Of the total of 25 Lok Sabha seats, 14 are in Assam, followed by Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Meghalaya, and Tripura (2 each), and Nagaland, Mizoram, and Sikkim (1 each).

The BJP is already in an advantageous position in the 25 Lok Sabha seats in the Northeast, as the party currently has 14 seats spanning Assam (9), Tripura (2), Arunachal Pradesh (2), and Manipur (1), while the Congress has four — 3 in Assam and 1 in Meghalaya.

Of the remaining seven seats, Assam’s All India United Democratic Front, Nagaland’s Nationalist Democratic Progressive Party (NDPP), Mizoram’s Mizo National Front, Meghalaya’s National People’s Party (NPP), Manipur’s Naga People’s Front, and Sikkim’s Sikkim Krantikari Morcha (SKM) hold one each. One seat in Assam is held by an Independent.

Besides in Arunachal, the BJP now heads governments in Assam, Tripura, and Manipur, while its allies NPP leads the government in Meghalaya, NDPP in Nagaland, and the SKM in Sikkim.

The ruling Zoram Peoples Movement (ZPM) in Mizoram has already announced that it would not ally with the BJP-led NDA or the Congress-led INDIA bloc.

Like in previous elections, out of the 60 nominees, 10 ruling BJP candidates in Arunachal, including Chief Minister Pema Khandu and Deputy Chief Minister Chowna Mein, won their respective seats without a contest, almost ensuring the prospect of the BJP coming back to power for a third consecutive term.

Incumbent Chief Minister Khandu formed the first BJP government in Arunachal Pradesh in 2016 after he, along with several MLAs, quit the Congress and formed the People’s Party of Arunachal (PPA). Subsequently, most of the PPA legislators, including Khandu, joined the BJP.

In 2019, the BJP won 41 seats, the Janata Dal (United) secured seven seats, the National People’s Party (NPP) managed five, the Congress bagged four, and the PPA won one seat while two seats went to Independents.

All the seven JD(U) MLAs and the lone PPA legislator joined the BJP later.

In February this year, two NPP and three Congress MLAs joined the BJP. After the latest switchovers, the number of BJP legislators in Arunachal increased to 53.

Though the main opposition Congress this time announced 34 candidates and the NPP led by Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad K. Sangma announced 29 nominees for the Assembly elections in Arunachal, in reality, 19 Congress and 20 NPP candidates are in the fray as several nominees of the two parties either did not file their nomination papers or withdraw their candidatures.

The Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), led by Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Ajit A. Pawar, is contesting 14 seats, the PPA is fighting 11 seats, the Arunachal Democratic Party has fielded candidates in 4 seats, while the Lok Janashakti Party (LJP) is contesting 1 seat.

After the BJP candidates’ victory in 10 seats without contest, some political critics have accused the ruling party of winning a large number of seats in an “undemocratic manner”, a claim rubbished by the BJP leaders.

Deputy Chief Minister Chowna Mein said on the X: “I’m happy to witness the steady faith in the BJP-led government that will further elevate the development pace of our state in the upcoming term upon winning.”

“The unwavering support and confidence rendered by the people to the BJP is immense. It has further emboldened our commitment to work for the welfare of the people and further development of the state. I look forward to continuing serving my people with renewed dedication,” he added.

Chief Minister Khandu said the BJP is confident of bagging the 50 seats where its strongest “opponent” is believed to be the NPP, an NDA partner.

One of the prominent BJP leaders and Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma is often heard saying that he is confident that the NDA will win 22 out of the 25 Lok Sabha seats in the northeastern region.

Sarma claimed that the BJP and its allies hardly have any competition in the region.

“The electoral fight will be among our candidates to win by the highest margin, and I am not being complacent about it,” CM Sarma said at a party meeting on Sunday.

Another senior BJP leader and Union Minister Sarbananda Sonowal also said that the Northeast will play a vital role in BJP’s victory this time.

“Out of the 14 seats in Assam, we (BJP) aim to win 12 seats, and out of the 25 seats in the northeastern states, we will win 22 seats,” said Sonowal.

In Tripura too, the BJP is in an advantageous position this time, as the tribal-based Tipra Motha Party (TMP) led by Pradyot Bikram Manikya Deb Barman, which contested against the BJP in the 2019 polls, has not only become its ally but is also campaigning jointly for the upcoming polls.

After year-long discussions, culminating in the signing of a tripartite agreement with the Centre and the Tripura government on March 2, the tribal-based party joined the BJP-led coalition government on March 7 this year.

The ruling BJP, besides fielding former Tripura Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb from the Tripura West Lok Sabha seat, has nominated the scion of the state’s erstwhile royal dynasty, Kriti Singh Debbarma, for the Tripura East seat that is reserved for tribals.

Debbarma is the daughter of late Maharaja Kirit Bikram Kishore Manikya Deb Barman, and the elder sister of Pradyot Bikram Manikya Deb Barman.

Also read: Assembly Polls: 10 BJP candidates, including CM & Dy CM, win unopposed in Arunachal

By IANS Updated: Apr 01, 2024 6:53:56 pm
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