BJP’s 'angry allies' in Northeast contesting separately

BJP national general secretary Ram Madhav addresses a press conference regarding the 2019 general elections at Assam state BJP office, in Guwahati on Sunday. Photo by Manash Das.

Days after claiming that the BJP formed “electoral understanding” and a "gatbandhan" with partners of the North East Democratic Alliance (NEDA), the party’s in charge of the region, Ram Madhav on Sunday said that some of the partners decided to contest separately in the ensuing Lok Sabha polls.

"After due diligence, some of our partners have decided to fight alone. We respect their decision. We wish them good luck. But they all will be with the NDA and Narendra Modiji after the elections," Madhav said when DH asked him why some partners were fighting against the BJP despite having an alliance with it.

Madhav, however, exuded confidence that the BJP and its allies would bag 20 of the 25 Lok Sabha seats in the Northeast.

The BJP had floated NEDA after coming to power in Assam in May 2016, comprising its regional allies with a target to make Northeast “Congress-mukt.” (free of Congress)

At least eight partners of NEDA, however, joined the agitation against the NDA’s Citizenship (Amendment) bill in December and January.

The Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) quit the alliance in Assam in January, while parties like the National People’s Party (NPP) and the Mizo National Front (MNF) warned to quit the NDA and NEDA.

Interestingly, the AGP renewed its alliance with BJP on March 13 but the NPP, the MNF and the IPFT (Tripura) have fielded their candidates in Meghalaya, Assam, Mizoram and Tripura.

IPFT, an ally of the BJP-led government in Tripura, named its candidates for the two Lok Sabha seats after the BJP refused to vacate one for it.

The BJP on Sunday named Rikan G Momin as its candidate against NPP’s Agatha Sangma in Meghalaya’s Tura constituency. Agatha, the daughter of former Lok Sabha speaker and NPP founder P A Sangma is the sitting MP from Tura.

Many hoped that the BJP would not contest in Tura as the NPP is a partner of NEDA and NDA.

In Assam, the BJP is contesting 10 seats while its allies the AGP and the BPF are contesting in four other seats. The BJP is supporting the candidate fielded by its ally Nationalist Democratic Progressive Party in Nagaland.

The NPP have also decided to contest in at least 35 of the 60 Assembly seats in Arunachal Pradesh.

The BJP has also announced 60 candidates for the April 11 Assembly elections.

Interestingly, many BJP leaders including present and former MLAs in Arunachal Pradesh joined the NPP, after being denied tickets by the saffron party.

“We are contesting to form our government,” said Jarpum Gamlin, former general secretary of the BJP in the state, soon after he joined the NPP on Tuesday.

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BJP’s 'angry allies' in Northeast contesting separately

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