Assembly Elections 2018: Judgment day in three North-East states; Tripura to get clear mandate?

Political parties in Nagaland and Meghalaya busy trying to stitch new post-poll pacts as hung Assemblies have been predicted in both states.

Published: 03rd March 2018 05:32 AM  |   Last Updated: 03rd March 2018 07:48 AM   |  A+A-

A polling official marks ink on the finger of a voter during the Meghalaya state assembly election in Nongpoh. | AP

Express News Service

GUWAHATI: On the eve of the Assembly election results in Tripura, Nagaland and Meghalaya, political parties are busy trying to stitch post-poll alliances with like-minded parties. Of the three states, hung Assemblies have been predicted in Nagaland and Meghalaya. Barring once, there has never been a single party government in Meghalaya.

Fearing last-minute betrayal by pre-poll allies and taking a cue from last year’s Manipur elections, the ruling NPF in Nagaland on Friday moved governor PB Acharya. It submitted to him copies of “support letters” highlighting the party’s pre-poll alliances with the NPP) and the JD(U).

Shurhozelie Liezietsu, the NPF chief, in a letter to the governor handed over by chief minister T R Zeliang, wrote, “…Besides declaring pre-poll alliance with the NPF, both the NPP and the JD (U) in Nagaland have expressly declared in the agreements that T R Zeliang shall be the chief minister of the state should the NPF form the next government with its allies.

“I shall be grateful if these communications are taken on record for conveniently handling issues relating to the formation of the next government…,” the letter read.

In last year’s Manipur elections, the NPP had pledged in writing its support to the Congress, which had won 28 of the 60 seats and needed the support of at least three MLAs to form the government. However, the NPP took a U-turn at the last moment and backed the BJP, which had won 22 seats but formed the government with the support of allies. The newly floated NDPP, , forged a pre-poll alliance with the BJP. The NPP and the BJP are alliance partners in non-Congress North East Democratic Alliance and hence, the NPF’s worries. The NPF fears it might get betrayed by the NPP.

The ruling Meghalaya United Alliance was formed by the Congress after the 2013 elections with the support of some smaller parties and Independents. It was learnt that the Congress had been in touch with the smaller parties.

However, the grand old party and the NPP, which are two major players, are optimistic about forming the government on their own.

“I am confident that NPP will emerge as the single largest party. It will do well across Meghalaya,” NPP chief Conrad Sangma told Express.

Meghalaya attained statehood in 1972 and in the past 46 years, it has been just once in 1972 that a political party All Party Hill Leaders’ Conference had formed the government single-handedly. Since then, it has been all coalition governments as no party could achieve a majority.

The exit polls have predicted an end to the 25-year-longLeft rule in Tripura. BJP leader Himanta Biswa Sarma said, “We may end up getting close to 50 seats. If the polls were held 15 days later, even Chief Minister Manik Sarkar would have lost.” The BJP had struck a pre-poll alliance with mainly-tribal IPFT to keep the tribals in a good humour. Twenty of the state’s 60 seats are reserved for the community.

The ruling CPI(M)  is equally optimistic. “We are confident. I said it before and I say it now. Our vote share may fall but we are confident of forming the government,” party state secretary Bijan Dhar said.

NPF meets Nagaland Governor with ally letters

Fearing last-minute betrayal by pre-poll allies, the ruling NPF in Nagaland met the governor and submitted to him “support letters” highlighting the party’s pre-poll alliances with the NPP and the JD(U)

Even Manik Sarkar would have lost: Himanta Biswa Sarma

While expressing confidence that his party would get close to 50 seats in Tripura, BJP leader and Assam minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said even CM Manik Sarkar would’ve lost had polls been delayed by 15 days.

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