Voters in two northeastern States, Nagaland and Tripura, gave the BJP and its partners another term instead of bringing in the change their challengers had promised. For the BJP, the results are a reward for its sustained work, and enhances its claim to be a pre-eminent national party. In Tripura, the party and its regional ally, the Indigenous People’s Front of Tripura, won 33 seats, nine fewer than in 2018 but two more than the majority mark. The seat-sharing deal that the Left Front and Congress struck did not work for the Left but gave the Congress a fresh lease of life. The Left Front won 11, five fewer than the 16 it won in 2018 while Congress won three as against none five years ago. The Tipra Motha, a new party, won 13 of the 42 seats it contested, in the tribal regions. The BJP’s victory can be attributed to an improved law-and-order situation, cash incentives such as a monthly social allowance of ₹2,000 for the poor and providing 1.6 lakh houses under the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana. The party also appears to have consolidated the non-tribal voters who are unnerved by the rise of the Motha.
In Meghalaya, charges of corruption against the National People’s Party (NPP) by allies and rivals alike did not work. The NPP won 26 seats, six more than in 2018 while its allies in the outgoing government, the United Democratic Party and the BJP, won 11 and two, respectively; they all fought the election separately. The NPP’s pan-Meghalaya presence across two hill regions dominated by the Garo and the Khasi-Jaintia communities kept it in good stead, while the Trinamool Congress’s attempts to gain a foothold faltered as it was seen as a party from West Bengal. The Congress, the only party that had acceptance across the State earlier, is now a pale shadow of itself, winning five seats, a huge fall from its 2018 tally of 21. The Christian community in Meghalaya continues to be sceptical of the BJP but its counterparts in Nagaland have warmed up to it. The Nationalist Democratic Progressive Party (NDPP) and the BJP have retained power in Nagaland, a State which had ceased to have an Opposition in the outgoing Assembly. The BJP equalled its 2018 score of 12 seats while the NDPP won 25, seven more than in 2018. The rest of the seats in the 60-member Assembly have gone to smaller allies of the BJP, ruling out the possibility of any opposition in the new Assembly too.
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