Committed to winning back trust of people in northeast, says Rahul Gandhi


Committed to winning back trust of people in northeast, says Rahul Gandhi

For the BJP, it was a journey from zero to zenith. As a result they are languishing with 1.8 per cent votes. But it was able to reinvent itself and capture the imagination of the voters.

In Tripura, a state where the BJP previously had no seats in the assembly, the party won 35 out of 59 seats, ending a 25-year reign by the Communist Party of India (Marxist).

The victory, especially in Tripura, goes beyond electoral gains.

Interestingly, nearly all the northeastern states where BJP has come to power in the last two years share one common feature - one party or alliance was in power for a decade or more before BJP and its allies took over.

The BJP's strong showing came as a surprise for many as the party did not even have a councillor in Tripura. Party president Conrad Sangma, presently the MP from the state's Tura Lok Sabha seat, is set to be the next chief minister and will be sworn in tomorrow (March 5).

The IPFT came into being in the late 90s and had campaigned for a separate state for tribals by carving out the Tripura Tribal Areas Autonomous District Council (TTAADC) on the plea that the indigenous people had become marginalised due to the huge migration of people to this state after partition of the country in 1947. He is a politburo member of the CPM and has been ruling the state for the fourth consecutive time.

Instead, he visited Tripura frequently during 2015, and stationed himself there full-time since January 2016. A coalition of communist parties and some other groups are ruling southern Kerala state, while small regional groups are heading the other states. No words will be enough to thank them for the phenomenal support towards the BJP in Tripura.

One way it did so, for instance, was by portraying "Bharat-mata" dressed in tribal attires, thereby attempting to harmonise tribal culture with RSS outlook.

Past year witnessed violent communal clashes between sections of the two communities as indigenous groups pressed with their demand for a separate state- Tipraland.

"We do not believe in the politics of vengeance and hatred, so we appeal to the people to maintain peace and calm", he said. Equally important is that much of the CPM support base consists of an ageing, 60-plus population.

Mr Madhav said, the NDPP-BJP alliance will stake claim to form the government in next few days.

Finally, this demographic factor got compounded by the already anti-incumbency-hit CPM's blunder in fielding mostly ageing candidates in a state where, as per Census 2011, nearly 30% of the population is in the 15-29 age group.

Sarma, formerly a Congress party leader, has switched side to join the BJP just before the Assam assembly elections after being denied an audience with Rahul Gandhi. the then vice president of his old party. But NPF leader and chief minister T.R. Zeliang said soon afterwards that the BJP-NPF alliance, too, was still on.

The Congress has been wiped out in Tripura, as it had been in Bengal.

Asking the party to adopt a 360-degree strategy to win polls, Modi said on Saturday: "I have full faith that our party chief will decide what is to be done.and how we have to move ahead".

The BJP government also sees the Northeast as India's bridge to Southeast Asia, and new infrastructure projects are planned to boost connectivity with ASEAN.



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