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Historic Wins for Northeast regional parties, VOTPP and ZPM, in LS Polls

Focusing on local and ethnic issues and the fight against corruption, two regional parties in northeast India, the Voice of the People Party (VOTPP) in Meghalaya and the Zoram People's Movement (ZPM) in Mizoram picked up their first-ever Lok Sabha seats in the 2024 elections. 

Some other regional parties, who are allied with the BJP - the United People’s Party Liberal (UPPL) and the Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) in Assam, and the Sikkim Krantikari Morcha (SKM) in Sikkim - secured one Lok Sabha seat each.

While the AGP has won Lok Sabha seats several times earlier, the UPPL, with its base in Bodoland areas of western Assam, will have representation in the Parliament for the first time.

Five other regional parties -- All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF) in Assam, the Nationalist Democratic Progressive Party (NDPP) in Nagaland, the Mizo National Front (MNF) in Mizoram, the National People’s Party (NPP) in Meghalaya, and the Naga People's Front (NPF) in Manipur - were not so lucky this time around. All won a seat each in the 2019 elections but lost now.

In Meghalaya, the little-known VOTPP candidate Ricky Andrew J. Syngkon managed to snatch the Shillong parliamentary seat, defeating state Congress President and former Union Minister Vincent H. Pala, who has been winning the seat since 2009, by a margin of over 3.7 lakh votes.

The VOTPP was formed in December 2021 and won four seats in the February 2023 Assembly elections. The party contested 18 seats and got 5.36 per cent votes, but in the Lok Sabha elections, its vote percentage increased to 33.40 per cent. Syngkon, who is a PhD in Economics, secured 5,71,078 votes while Pala got 1,99,168.

Political analysts contend that the alliance between the NPP and BJP in the Christian-dominated Meghalaya was not accepted wholeheartedly by the people and this also helped the VOTPP to secure a record number of votes.

Meanwhile, in another shock, sitting MP and former Union Minister Agatha K. Sangma lost in the Sangma family’s "carefully nurtured" Tura seat in Garo Hills to Congress candidate Saleng A. Sangma, who won by a huge margin of 1.55 lakh votes.

Founded by former Union Minister, Lok Sabha Speaker and Chief Minister P. A.Sangma, the NPP, led now by his son, Chief Minister Conrad K. Sangma, with 26 MLAs, dominates the Meghalaya Democratic Alliance government and also has legislators in Arunachal Pradesh (5), Manipur (7) and Nagaland (5), would remain unrepresented in the Lok Sabha after several decades.

In Mizoram, the ruling ZPM's candidate Richard Vanlalhmangaiha won the state's sole Lok Sabha seat, defeating MNF candidate K. Vanlalvena by over 68,000 votes. Headed by Chief Minister Lalduhoma, the ZPM, which was constituted in 2018, came to power in the November 2023 Assembly polls, crushing the MNF.

In Nagaland, in a significant political development, Congress candidate S. Supongmeren Jamir wrested the state's sole Lok Sabha seat from the ruling NDPP, which leads the eight-party Peoples’ Democratic Alliance (PDA) government in the opposition-less state. The Congress does not have any members in the current Assembly nor in the previous one.

In Manipur, the Congress wrested both Lok Sabha seats from the ruling BJP and its ally NPF, which has an organisational base in Manipur and Nagaland and five and two MLAs, respectively, in the states.

*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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