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Saffron surge in Northeast: Seven out of eight chief ministers belong to BJP-led NDA. Here are the details

Prior to Tripura, Nagaland and Meghalaya, the NDA already ruled Assam, Manipur, Arunachal Pradesh and Sikkim.

Reported by: India TV News Desk, New Delhi [ Updated: March 10, 2018 7:13 IST ]
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The BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) consolidated its position in the northeast by registering victories in the recently-held Assembly elections in Tripura, Nagaland and Meghalaya. The NDA has now governments in seven of the eight states of Northeast. It has boosted NDA's prospects for retaining power in 2019 general elections.

Prior to Tripura, Nagaland and Meghalaya, the NDA already ruled Assam, Manipur, Arunachal Pradesh and Sikkim. 

Mizoram, the lone Congress-ruled state in northeast, will go to polls later this year.

India's main opposition Congress party, which has ruled the country for most of the time since independence, is now reduced to ruling four states only - Mizoram, Karnataka, Punjab and Puducherry. 

Here is a look at the all seven NDA Chief Ministers in the northeast:

1. Biplab Kumar Deb, Tripura India Tv - Biplab Deb

Biplab Deb

Biplab Kumar Deb, who became the first BJP chief minister of Tripura, the 'red bastion' which fell to the 'saffron force' in the recent assembly poll, has come a long way since his days in the RSS.

Deb became the tenth chief minister of the north eastern state with the saffron party winning two-third majority with ally IPFT. Like Manik Srakar, the Marxist chief minister he replaced, Deb had a humble beginning.

Born into a middle class Bengali family at Rajdhar Nagar village in Tripura's Gomati district on November 25, 1971, his father Haradhan Deb was a local leader of the Jan Sangh.

He completed his graduation from the Udaipur College in the state in 1999 and left for Delhi soon after to join the RSS.

He served the right-wing organisation for around 16 years under the guidance of Gobinda Acharya and Krishnagopal Sharma, two prominent Sangh leaders.

Deb returned to Tripura in 2015 and assumed the charge of central Jan Sampark Pramukh of BJP, and was made the state president of the saffron party on January 6, 2016 replacing Sudhindra Dasgupta, the longest-serving chief of the party in Tripura. 

2. Neiphiu Rio, Nagaland India Tv - Neiphiu Rio

Neiphiu Rio

NDPP leader Neiphiu Rio, who gave music the status of an industry in Nagaland, has always stayed in tune with the times. He is currently serving his fourth term as chief minister of the state and scored a new record.

The first chief minister in Nagaland to have won three elections in a row, Rio assumed office for the fourth time in the northeastern state on March 8 this year, as saffron flags fluttered across the capital to underline his party's alliance with the BJP.

The former leader of the Naga People's Front (NPF), who served as chief minister in 2003, 2008 and 2013, is one term short of the record set by S C Jamir, now Odisha governor, who headed a government five times.

3. Conrad Sangma, Meghalaya India Tv - Conrad Sangma

Conrad Sangma

Currently serving as the Chief Minister of Meghalaya, Sangma started his political career in 2008 when he was elected to Meghalaya Legislative Assembly.

Later, he was even inducted as the cabinet minister for finance, power and tourism in the state government.

Elected to lead the opposition benches in 2009, Sangma continued as the Leader of Opposition in Meghalaya Legislative Assembly till 2013.

Sangma is the son of former Chief Minister of Meghalaya and Speaker of the Lok Sabha, P. A. Sangma, who passed away after cardiac arrest on March 4, 2016. He was awarded a posthumous Padma Vibhushan in 2017 becoming the first recipient of the honour from Meghalaya.

After the demise of his father, Conrad Sangma was elected as the Member of Parliament from family's traditional constituency of Tura.

Conrad, backed by BJP, was sworn in as CM recently with toher constituents of the new government being United Democratic Party (UDP), Hill State People’s Democratic Party (HSPDP) and People’s Democratic Front (PDF). 

4. Biren Singh, Manipur India Tv - Biren Singh

Biren Singh

Nongthombam Biren Singh is the present Chief Minister of Manipur. He began his career as a footballer, got recruited to the Border Security Force (BSF) and played for its team in domestic competitions.

He resigned from the BSF and turned to journalism. He began a vernacular daily Naharolgi Thoudang in 1992 and worked as its editor till 2001.

Turning to politics in 2002, Singh joined the Democratic Revolutionary Peoples Party and won assembly election from Heingang Assembly Constituency. He retained the seat in 2007.

He continued to serve the state in the capacity of a Cabinet Minister till February 2012. He joined the Bharatiya Janata Party in 2016.

In 2017, he retained his seat from Heingang Assembly Constituency again and was named the 12th Chief Minister of Manipur. He won the floor test in the floor of the Assembly with the support of 33 MLAs of BJP and its allies. He is the first ever BJP Chief Minister in Manipur.

5. Sarbananda Sonowal, Assam India Tv - Sarbanand Sonowal

Sarbanand Sonowal

Sarbananda Sonowal is the 14th chief minister of Assam. Sonowal represents Majuli constituency in Assam's state legislative assembly. Sonowal was Union Minister for Sports & Youth Affairs in the Narendra Modi-led NDA government from 2014 to 2016.

He represented Assam's Lakhimpur constituency in the Lok Sabha during the same period. He has earlier served as BJP president in Assam and also as a member of the party's National Executive.

Sonowal first came in the spotlight when he got the contentious Illegal Migration (Determination by Tribunal) Act, 1983 struck down by the Supreme Court of India in 2005. The Act was one of the biggest obstacles to deportation of Bangladeshi immigrants.

Sonowal formed his government in the state in 2016, when the BJP had won 60 assembly seats on its own, while AGP and BPF won 14 and 12 seats respectively, taking the alliance's strength to 86 in the 126-member house.

6. Pawan Chamling, Sikkim India Tv - Pawan Kumar Chamling

Pawan Kumar Chamling

Chamling joined politics in 1973 and was elected to the Sikkim Legislative Assembly for the first time in 1985. He served as Minister for Industries, Information and Public Relations from 1989 to 1992.

He became the Chief Minister of Sikkim in December 1994 after having formed the Sikkim Democratic Front (SDF) Party on 4th March,1993.

He is currently in the fifth consecutive term as India's longest serving Chief Minister. In Sikkim, Pawan Chamling's ruling SDF is an ally of the BJP and a member of North-East Democratic Alliance (NEDA).

Chamling has a slew of accolodes to his name, including 1st Bhairon Singh Shekhawat Life time achievement honour in 2017 and Greenest Chief Minister of India in 1998.

He was also awarded the Manav Seva Puraskar in 1999, which was presented for his rare vision in bringing about far-reaching changes in the quality of life for poor and championing the cause of the Sikkimese people and downtrodden, especially upliftment of women and child welfare. 

7. Pema Khandu, Arunachal Pradesh India Tv - Pema Khandu

Pema Khandu

From assisting his father Dorjee Khandu in politics to working for social transformation, Pema Khandu has travelled a long way to sit in the coveted post of Arunachal CM.

Since becoming chief minister in July 2016, he and his government have twice changed their party affiliation; in September from the Indian National Congress to the Peoples Party of Arunachal, and then in December 2016 to the Bharatiya Janata Party.

On December 21, 2016 in a high octane drama Khandu was suspended from the party by the party president and Takam Pario was named as the next likely Chief Minister of Arunachal Pradesh replacing Khandu after People's Party of Arunachal suspended Khandu along with 6 other MLAs.

Later, Khandu proved majority on the floor of the house with 33 of the People's Party of Arunachal’s 43 legislators joining the Bharatiya Janata Party as the BJP increased its strength to 45 with support of two independents as it had 11 MLAs already.

Soft spoken and a globetrotter, Khandu, who travelled to Japan, Thailand, Macau, Sri Lanka, USA, Canada, South Africa and Bhutan, is associated with numerous socio-cultural organisations, including Bodhi Language & Literature Promotional Society as chairman.

He also championed civil-Army relations, plantation drive in hilly Tawang district, organised periodical medical camps in various parts of the district.

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