By Our Editorial Team
First publised on 2023-03-03 06:53:55
The results of the elections in Tripura, Nagaland and Meghalaya show that the BJP, in strategic alliances with regional parties, continues to march ahead in the region. It won a second term in Tripura in alliance with IPFT (although the Tipra Motha has substantially reduced the influence of the IPFT among indigenous communities); got a similar second term in Nagaland with NDPP and although not performing well in Meghalaya, will form the government there too after Conrad Sangma's NPP, which won 26 seats, approached it for an alliance. So it is once again 3 out of 3 for the NDA and the opposition parties have no answers to the growing influence of the BJP in a region where it had no presence even 9 years back.
Apart from the development work being done in the North-East under the NDA government and the focus on the region, with Prime Minister Modi taking a personal interest and the astute Himanta Biswa Sarma as the chief minder, coupled with strategic alliances with top regional parties, the BJP's strategy of not invoking Hindutva, especially in Nagaland and Meghalaya which are Christian majority states, seems to be working in favour of the party. Then the fact that the Centre has invested time and energy in working out peace pacts with insurgent groups in many states to bring peace to the region and has withdrawn AFSPA from many places has also worked in its favour. Also, the RSS has been working silently and well in the region for many years now and that has also helped the BJP in its political endeavours in the region.
But with the North-East of strategic importance as it shares a long international border with China, Myanmar and Bangladesh, the BJP's strategy of going on the state-sponsored Hindutva overdrive in Assam and pitting the local Bengali population against Bangladeshi infiltrators on the one hand and the indigenous tribes on the other in Tripura is dangerous and might create hurdles its expansion plans in future. The Centre will also have to look into the border disputes between several states in the region, especially the ones between Assam and Meghalaya and Assam and Nagaland, as they can snowball into major conflicts if not addressed now. It will also have to address the emotive issue of 'inner line permit' in some states and look into the demands of the various tribes in all states. With the so-called 'double-engine' government in place in most states, it is expected that these issues will be resolved now.