Election Results 2024: Comeback for Congress in Northeast with wins in four States as BJP, allies slip

Updated - June 05, 2024 07:19 am IST

Published - June 05, 2024 12:50 am IST - Guwahati

BJP supporters celebrate as the NDA coalition crosses the majority mark in Lok Sabha poll, in Guwahati on Tuesday.

BJP supporters celebrate as the NDA coalition crosses the majority mark in Lok Sabha poll, in Guwahati on Tuesday. | Photo Credit: ANI

The BJP and its regional allies improved upon their performance in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls in Assam but Congress’s resurgence of sorts has headlined Mandate 2024 in the Northeast comprising 25 constituencies.

Also Read:Election Results 2024 Updates

Victories in Assam’s Dhubri have underlined the comeback of Congress, the two constituencies in Manipur, the Tura seat in Meghalaya, and Nagaland. The party won seven seats across four States, three more than its tally across Assam and Meghalaya five years ago.

Once the dominant national party, Congress has not been in power in any of the eight States in the Northeast since 2018 when it lost power to the National People’s Party (NPP)-led alliance in Meghalaya and the Mizo National Front (MNF) in Mizoram.

Led by the BJP with 14 seats — nine in Assam, two each in Arunachal Pradesh and Tripura, and one in Manipur — the National Democratic Alliance won 19 seats in 2019. Congress won four and non-aligned candidates two.

The BJP equalled its tally in Assam, Arunachal, and Tripura this time but slipped in the Meitei-dominated Inner Manipur constituency, where Angomcha Bimol Akoijam of Congress is believed to have capitalised on the anger against the N. Biren Singh government for failing to bail the State out of a bloody ethnic violence since May 2023.

The BJP’s key allies, NPP in Meghalaya, the Naga People’s Front in Manipur, and the Nationalist Democratic Progressive Party in Nagaland also faltered, failing to retain the Tura, Outer Manipur, and Nagaland seats respectively.

NDA ups tally in Assam

With the Asom Gana Parishad winning Barpeta, its first Lok Sabha seat in Assam since 2014, and the United People’s Party, Liberal winning the Kokrajhar seat, the NDA upped its tally in Assam from nine to 11. But its overall count in the Northeast – factoring in the Sikkim Krantikari Morcha’s seat in Sikkim – dropped to 15.

Congress, on the other hand, ended a losing streak of 25 years in Tura, 20 years in Nagaland, 15 years in Dhubri, and five years each in Inner Manipur and Outer Manipur.

In Outer Manipur, Congress candidate Alfred K.S. Arthur was allegedly intimidated and threatened by extremists.

Apart from upsetting the NPP applecart in Tura, Congress staged the biggest upset in Nagaland where it was wiped out after losing power in 2003. One of the factors is believed to have been the boycott of the polls by the people of six districts of eastern Nagaland comprising 20 Assembly segments for the Centre’s failure to create the autonomous Frontier Nagaland Territory.

“People came to understand that a weak opposition is not good for them. They voted to save democracy and against the division of society on religious lines apart from demonstrating that the minorities matter,” S. Supongmeren Jamir, Nagaland’s victorious Congress candidate said.

Regional force

Mandate 2024 also underscored the potential of the Voice of the People Party (VPP), a party formed ahead of the 2023 Meghalaya Assembly polls, to become a regional force to reckon with. Its candidate, Ricky Andrew J. Syngkon prevented former Union Minister Vincent H. Pala of Congress from winning the Shillong seat for the fourth straight term.

“People wanted change and they entrusted us to pursue it in Parliament,” VPP president Ardent Miller Basaiawmoit told The Hindu after Dr Syngkon defeated Mr Pala by 3,71,910 votes.

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