GUWAHATI: Although it has managed to win only two seats, the National People’s Party of Conrad Sangma is a part of a non-Congress front called the Northeast Democratic Alliance (NEDA).
The NPP has won 19 seats and along with the BJP, there is a possibility that they will stitch together an alliance with the United Democratic Party (six seats) and the People’s Democratic Front (four seats). The Left in Tripura faced an unprecedented rout and the Congress scored a duck.
The Congress drew a blank in Nagaland too. The BJP derailed the Left applecart in Tripura with the slogan “chalo paltai”. The party’s young State president, Biplab Deb, appears to be the frontrunner for chief ministership. Addressing party workers in New Delhi, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said “when the sun sets the colour is red but when the sun rises it is saffron.”
Among factors that worked in the favour of the BJP-Indigenous People’s Front of Twipra (IPFT) alliance were anti-incumbency, alleged corruption by the CPI-M-led Left Front government, allegations that the CPI-M worked for the benefit of only its workers and leaders , besides complacency.
The BJP hardly had any base in the state until six Trinamool Congress MLAs, who had won on Congress tickets in the 2013 polls, defected to it late last year.
That the BJP was serious about Tripura was known when it sent a former RSS pracharak and Modi’s poll manager in Varanasi in 2014, Sunil V Deodhar, to the state three years ago. He stayed put in the state and has been instrumental in strengthening the party and changing its fate.
Later, a bevy of BJP leaders, including Shah, started visiting the state on a regular basis. Shah had, in fact, dined at the house of a tribal to keep the community in a good humour.
Twenty of Tripura’s 60 seats are reserved for tribals and the BJP wasted no time in stitching an alliance with tribal-based IPFT. As it went to the polls, the Left was increasingly faced with charges of corruption. One of its ministers was grilled by the CBI in connection with the multi-crore rupees Rose Valley chit fund scam.
The BJP used it as an issue in the poll campaign. Sitting pretty for 25 years in power, the Left miscalculated the BJP’s strength. The BJP had a high-voltage campaign, going all guns blazing by roping in almost all its top leaders.
In contrast, the CPI-M had a lacklustre campaign. However, anti-incumbency is believed to have worked in a big way in the BJP’s favour.
The Left Front faced anti-incumbency even before but people did not have an alternative. The Congress was a divided house and its leaders were allegedly arrogant. So, when the BJP emerged, the people embraced the party. It was evident from the BJP winning seats across the Northeast state.