BJP doubles northeast seat tally

Party sweeps Arunachal, Tripura; NDA bags 18 of the 25 seats in the region

May 23, 2019 10:39 pm | Updated May 24, 2019 01:46 am IST - GUWAHATI

Two for joy:  BJP supporters celebrating at the party  head office in Guwahati on Thursday.

Two for joy: BJP supporters celebrating at the party head office in Guwahati on Thursday.

The Bharatiya Janata Party almost doubled its parliamentary seat count in the northeast over 2014 as the NDA bagged 17 of the maximum 25 seats in the region.

The NDA had 10 seats, eight of them BJP’s, from the eight north-eastern States five years ago.

The BJP bagged all the four seats in Arunachal Pradesh and Tripura and one of the two constituencies in Manipur. The party virtually painted Assam saffron by winning nine of the 10 seats it had contested, leaving four for two allies that failed to win any.

By winning a total of 14 seats from four States, the BJP gained six seats from its 2014 tally. The Congress maintained status quo in Assam by winning three seats but lost four seats — two in Manipur and one each in Arunachal Pradesh and Mizoram — elsewhere in the region. This election was a setback for perfume baron Badruddin Ajmal’s All India United Democratic Front too. He retained the Dhubri seat but his party lost Barpeta and Karimganj to the Congress and the BJP respectively.

CPI(M) the loser

Another major loser was the CPI(M), which ended up third in Tripura East and Tripura West seats behind the BJP and the Congress. The CPI(M) had won these seats in 2014 by a huge margin.

Among the heavyweights who won was Union Minister Kiren Rijiju, who retained the Arunachal West seat by trouncing former Chief Minister Nabam Tuki of the Congress. Former Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi’s son Gaurav Gogoi retained the Kaliabor seat in Assam for the Congress while former Lok Sabha Speaker Purno A. Sangma’s daughter Agatha Sangma won the Tura seat in Meghalaya.

Citizenship Bill

Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal said the mandate was a reflection of the people’s faith in the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. “With his principle of sabka saath, sabka vikas , the PM has given a voice to the marginalised, rekindled the patriotic fervour and materialised the vision of a corruption-free India,” he said.

Finance and Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, who as the BJP’s chief strategist had predicted 18-21 seats for the NDA in the northeast, said the Opposition paid the price for “insulting 5,000 years of Indian civilisation” and values associated with it. He said the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill had a “positive effect” on the BJP

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