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Tripura, Meghalaya and Nagaland poll dates announced: What political landscape looks like in northeast states

Assembly elections in Northeast: BJP is in power in all three states. It has been ruling Tripura and is a part of the ruling alliance in Meghalaya and Nagaland. There is a direct fight between BJP and Left in Tripura, while regional parties are dominant in the other two states.

Raju Kumar Written By: Raju Kumar @rajudelhi123 New Delhi Updated on: February 06, 2023 12:06 IST
EC announces dates for election in three states
Image Source : INDIA TV EC announces dates for election in three states

The Election Commission on Wednesday announced dates for assembly elections in Tripura, Meghalaya and Nagaland setting up the stage for the boll battle in the northeast region. The voting in Tripura will be held on February 16 and in Nagaland and Meghalaya on February 27. The results will be declared on March 2.

The results of in 3 states will be seen as a prelude to the mega General Election 2024. The poll will also decode whether the mood of people in the northeast changed or is still in favour of the Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP) and its allies. BJP is part of the ruling establishment in all three states. Out of 3, Tripura is the key for the BJP as the saffron party is leading the ruling NDA. 

Here is an insightful analysis of the political landscape in all three states-

Tripura: All eyes are on Tripura where BJP had for the first time formed the government ending the 20-year-long dominance of the Left in the state. In the 2018 assembly election, BJP created history by wresting power from CPI-M which had ruled for 25 years (1993-2018). This was a rude shock for CM Manik Sarkar who had been CM for 20 years. He was considered invincible courtesy of his immense popularity but BJP emerged like a dark horse riding Modi-wave. BJP emerged single largest party bagging 33 seats in 60-seat assembly. The saffron party formed the government with an ally- IPFT (4 seats). Currently, the Opposition's strength is 16 seats- CPI(M)- 15 and Congress-1.

According to reports, the BJP government has been battling corruption charges and law and order issues for the last couple of months. As a precautionary move, the ruling party changed its CM. Biplab Kumar Deb was replaced by Manik Saha in May 2022. Interestingly, Congress and CPI(M) decided to fight the election together in 2023 which was termed an unholy alliance by CM Saha. The alliance marks a tectonic shift in the state's political landscape. The Congress was the main opposition to the CPI(M)-led Left Front before being ousted by the BJP in 2018. However, Mamata Banerjee-led TMC has also been trying to build political ground in the last couple of months and is set to probably go solo. TMC may divide anti-BJP votes which will help the ruling establishment.

Nagaland: The hilly state Nagaland holds a peculiar position in Indian politics as it is perhaps the only state where there was no Opposition. The 60-member Nagaland Assembly has no MLA in the Opposition. In August 2021, The Naga People’s Front (NPF) — the State’s only Opposition party was inducted into the state government headed by Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio. The protracted Naga political issue brought all political parties together to work collectively towards achieving a peaceful and amicable solution for the issue. The NPF won 25 seats in the 2018 Assembly elections. One more factor that makes the state special is that Hindu voters are in minority here.  According to 2011 census, Christians are 87.9 per cent in the state, Hindus-8.7 per cent, Muslims 2.5 per cent, and Buddhists 0.3 per cent. BJP has 12 seats in the state. It would be interesting to see how these political parties will go to the polls. 

Meghalaya: Meghalaya Democratic Alliance (MDA), which was formed in 2018 has been in power in the state. National People's Party has been leading the MDA government.  MDA is in power with 33 MLAs- NPP (20), UDP (8), BJP (3) and  PDF (2). However, the biggest partner in the alliance NPP decided to go solo in 2023 assembly election. It is a big jolt to the ruling alliance and an advantage for the Opposition. 

As far as Opposition is concerned Mamata's TMC changed the equation by snatching Congress MLAs into its fold. Now, TMC is the biggest Opposition party with 8 MLAs. Former CM Mukul Sangma, along with 11 of the 17 Congress MLAs, jumped the ship to TMC in November 2021.

Also Read: Tripura, Nagaland, Meghalaya assembly elections: Polling date, results, all you need to know


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