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Congress Makes Gains in Northeast, Wrests Key Seats from BJP in Lok Sabha Elections

#Sujit Chakraborty

In line with the rest of the country, the Congress put up an improved performance in the Lok Sabha elections in the eight northeastern states, which are now dominated by the BJP and its allies.   

The grand old party wrested two seats in Manipur, and one seat each in Nagaland and Meghalaya from the BJP and its allies, besides winning three seats in Assam.

Like the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, the BJP won nine seats in Assam besides retaining two seats each in Tripura and Arunachal Pradesh. Currently, the BJP is heading the governments in all these three states along with Manipur.

BJP ally National People’s Party (NPP) lost both seats in Meghalaya to the Congress and the Voice of the People Party, while another ally Nationalist Democratic Progressive Party (NDPP) lost the lone Nagaland seat to the Congress.  

However, BJP’s allies United People’s Party Liberal (UPPL) and Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) in Assam, and the Sikkim Krantikari Morcha (SKM) in Sikkim secured one seat each.

Of the 25 Lok Sabha seats in the eight northeastern states, in 2019, 14 were won by the BJP while the Congress had secured four (three in Assam and one in Meghalaya).

The remaining seven seats were bagged by state parties and an Independent nominee.

The All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF) in Assam, NDPP in Nagaland, Mizo National Front (MNF) in Mizoram, NPP in Meghalaya, Naga People's Front (NPF) in Manipur, Sikkim Krantikari Morcha (SKM) in Sikkim and an Independent (Naba Kumar Sarania) in Assam had won one seat each in 2019.

Though the MNF is a constituent of the NDA’s northeast chapter, the Northeast Democratic Alliance (NEDA) led by Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, Mizoram Chief Minister and ruling Zoram People's Movement (ZPM) President Lalduhoma has already announced that his party would maintain equal distance from the BJP-led NDA and the Congress-led INDIA bloc.

Meanwhile, Meghalaya Congress chief and former Union Minister Vincent H. Pala, who has been winning the Shillong Lok Sabha seat since 2009, suffered a humiliating defeat at the hands of Ricky Andrew J. Syngkon of the Voice of the People Party this time.

However, Congress candidate Saleng A. Sangma won the Tura seat by defeating ruling NPP nominee and former Union Minister Agatha K. Sangma, the younger sister of Meghalaya Chief Minister and NPP supremo Conrad K. Sangma.

Political pundits feel that over a year-long ethnic violence in Manipur, and unresolved ethnic issues in Nagaland and Meghalaya might have caused electoral setbacks for the BJP in these states.

Criticising the Central government, the Eastern Nagaland People's Organisation (ENPO) had urged the people to abstain from voting in the first phase of Lok Sabha elections on April 19 in support of its demand for a separate state comprising six districts in the state’s eastern region.

The people in the six districts, which have over four lakh voters, remained indoors on April 19 responding to the ENPO's boycott call.

Meanwhile, Tripura Congress President Asish Kumar Saha said on Tuesday that Rahul Gandhi's Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra yielded better dividends for the party in the Lok Sabha elections in the northeast.   

He said that Rahul Gandhi began his 'Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra' from Manipur on January 14, highlighting the five 'guarantees' (Nyay) and visited most of the northeastern states evoking a positive impact among the people.

“The Nyay Yatra has also stirred the minds of the people across the country and accordingly the Congress achieved better results in the Lok Sabha polls,” Saha told IANS.

(Sujit Chakraborty can be contacted at [email protected])

*Except for the heading, this story has not been edited by The enewstime.in and has been published from IANS feed.

(Northeast, Northeast News)

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