As three Northeast Indian states – Tripura, Meghalaya and Nagaland – gear up for election to the Legislative Assembly elections slated for early next year, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) appears desperate to install governments in these states.
These states are run by non-BJP parties - Left Front and Congress. In Nagaland, the Naga People’s Front (NPF), once an ally of BJP, now runs the state alone, having severed ties last July.
Amid preparations in these poll-bound states, Ram Madhav, BJP's national general secretary, hinted at a pre-poll alliance with some political parties in Meghalaya on Saturday.
“The scenario for a pre-poll alliance is likely. The course of its culmination cannot be explained right now, but we are in discussion with some political parties,” Madhav said while speaking to reporters.
Adding a note of caution, he said: “If no alliance is hitched in the long run, we will contest all the 60 Legislative Assembly seats by ourselves.”
There is no indication of an alliance between BJP and other political parties in Tripura till date. The Tripura Legislative Assembly consists of 60 seats overall. Among them, 20 are reserved for the Scheduled Tribes in the state and these play a crucial role in determining electoral victory.
Political analysts believe if BJP wants to make strong inroads into Tripura, it has to capture the Scheduled Tribes seats and, for this reason alone, they have to strike an alliance with regional political parties in the state.
The BJP campaigning in Meghalaya is currently predisposed to get a boost with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s scheduled visit to the poll-bound state on December 16. Modi's visit to Tripura has yet to be scheduled.
Tripura and Meghalaya both share international borders with Bangladesh.
In majority Christian Meghalaya, BJP's conservative policies remain quite unpopular. Over 5,000 people quit the party and its youth wing last June over Delhi government's ban on selling cattle for slaughter, and people held beef festivals in protest.