Like in Manipur, Can BJP afford to go alone in Christian dominated Meghalaya sans NPP?
SHILLONG, March 9 2017: With hardly a year left for the 2018 Assembly polls, election fever has started creeping in with speculations and predictions already doing their rounds with majority predicting the Congress's downfall and emergence of a collision government between the BJP, NPP and the regional parties.
However, the recent turn of political events in Manipur Polls has reflected the stance of the North East Democratic Alliance (NEDA) with the BJP spearheading the election on its own and unwilling to forge a pre-poll alliance with any other parties including the National People's Party (NPP).
It seems the Manipur elections will have a negative effect on the upcoming Meghalaya Assembly elections with the two national parties (BJP and NPP) which are hell-bent on overthrowing the congress party in the North eastern region, fighting the Manipur polls on their own.
It may be mentioned that the BJP has fielded all 60 candidates for Manipur while NPP has fielded 21 candidates, the two-phased polls which was recently held on March 4 and 8.
BJP is fighting the Manipur poll without its allies like the National People's Party (NPP), the Naga People's Front (NPF) and the Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) even as it exuded confidence about the party's poll prospect.
BJP's victory in Assam has restored hopes on the saffron party and other political parties in the state of Meghalaya to overthrow congress once and for all and all eyes are fixed on March 11 when the Manipur polls results will be announced.
Following the Congress's humiliating defeat in Assam, a North East Democratic Alliance (NEDA) was formed to oversee the complete dethronement of the congress party from Northeast India wherein political parties from Meghalaya like NPP and UDP are also associated.
Now are we already looking at a clash of ideologies amongst the political parties in NEDA? And the Manipur polls reflect a strong possibility.
When contacted, National People's Party (NPP) leader James Sangma has this to say:
"Every state has its own dynamics and Manipur, the situation so demanded that the BJP is going alone and we respect that, although we wanted an alliance with the BJP but the saffron party wanted to go it alone, so eventually, we have to go it alone. The NPP and NPF, we are both partners of the NDA at the centre but in Manipur elections, all of us contested separately. Now in Meghalaya, we are still very very keen on working with like-minded parties and having a pre-poll alliance but having said that a pre-poll alliance is not a simple matter. There are various angles to it, various points that has to be taken into considerations. So these are the netegrity and things which needs to be worked out over the course of time. There will be complications along the way but the intention is what matters and the intention on our part is that we want to have a pre-poll alliance with as many like-minded parties as possible that is non-congress".
"At this point, we are only organising our own party, we are working in the grassroots, reaching out to the people, lending in our ears to the problems of the people and also ensuring that their voice is heard in parliament and the assembly. There is still a lot of time for the elections to come and whether we contest in all the seats or selected seats in a collision, a pre-polls alliance with likeminded parties, this is something which only time will tell."
Meanwhile, BJP Meghalaya state unit general secretary David Kharsati has this to clarify:
The reality is to blend according to the local issues as the decision to go alone depends from one state to another. A survey will be conducted, and if the Meghalaya citizens wants BJP to go alone for 2018 elections, we will surely do that. We are yet to take a final decision on this matter. Will our decision to go alone in Manipur affect the party's partnership prospect in Meghalaya, Well I feel every national parties have an independent culture of working in very state. In as far as Meghalaya is concerned, we have to study the matter carefully, what is the point of going alone and losing the battle. My point is if pre-poll or post-alliance is a more viable, then we'll go for to ensure the congress is brought down.
When asked whether BJP foresees itself as a ruling party next year, Kharsati hesitated stating that we are trying hard. prospects for post-poll alliance is preferable.
With indoor and grassroot level campaigns already starting in Meghalaya, early predictions suggest that the BJP will try to make up and forge a pre-poll alliance in Meghalaya because the state is a hard-nut to crack, and also because the regional parties are strong if forces are combined sans the national parties. So unwilling to face this challenge, the basis on which NEDA was constituted will somehow come into force for Meghalaya assembly elections.
But the question remains: If the BJP decides to fight the Meghalaya Assembly elections alone, will it manage to do so without the help of other parties? Will the NPP or UDP step in to forge an alliance with the saffron party? Will congress in Meghalaya suffer the same fate as Assam and as the exit polls predicts BJP's victory in Manipur?
By Ibankyntiew Mawrie (email@example.com)
Opinions expressed in this article are the writer's own and TNT-The Northeast Today may not hold the same views