As the much-awaited five state assembly elections results are being unfolded, it becomes apparently clear that the Congress has lost its last bastion in the Northeast as Mizo National Front (MNF) has clinched a decisive majority there. The majority mark in the state is 21. The MNF is headed towards majority while Congress trails far behind in the 40-seat assembly.
The final tally shows MNF winning a sweeping 26 seats, Congress bags 5 seats, BJP-1and others-8 in the 40 member house. The Congress, which had bagged 34 seats in the last assembly elections, managed only five this time.
Congress getting completely wiped out from the Northeast and Mizoram slipping for its hands comes as a surprise, but what is more shocking is that the 76-year-old incumbent Chief Minister, Lal Thanhawla of the Congress, who held the post a record 5 times, lost the Assembly polls from both the places that he contested.
Lal Thanhawla lost from Champhai South as well as Serchhip, to Mizo National Front’s (MNF) TJ Lalnuntluanga in the former and to Zoram People’s Movement’s (ZPM) chief ministerial candidate Lalduhoma in the latter.
Mizoram had remained as the Congress’s last bastion in the Northeast. Since 2016, the Congress has lost Assam, Manipur, Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya and Nagaland to BJP and its allies.
Though MNF has ruled out an alliance with any party, it is a member of the North Eastern Democratic Alliance (NEDA) led by the BJP and supports the NDA in the centre. Assam BJP minister Himanta Biswa Sharma took to Twitter to congratulate Pu Zoramthanga, the MNF chief, for his historic win.
With Mizoram constituents of #NEDA will head Govt in entire North East. We worked towards it tirelessly for last 3 yrs under leadership of @narendramodi. Congratulations to Pu Zoramthanga for historic win of #MNF in #Mizoram. Meanwhile @BJP4India also opens its account in Mizoram
— Himanta Biswa Sarma (@himantabiswa) December 11, 2018
Seven out of the eight states that constitute India’s Northeast were either run by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) or had governments headed by regional parties broadly aligned with the right-wing national entity. Now with MNF victory in Mizoram, the NDA will hold clear dominance in the region.
The BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) consolidated its position in the northeast by registering victories in the recently-held Assembly elections in Tripura, Nagaland and Meghalaya. Prior to these states, the NDA already ruled Assam, Manipur, Arunachal Pradesh and Sikkim. With the recent poll results, Mizoram, the lone Congress-ruled state in the northeast has also slipped out of the Congress’ hand and fallen in NDA’s kitty, making the Northeast, a Congress-Mukt region.
Here is a look at the all seven NDA Chief Ministers in the northeast so far:
- Biplab Kumar Deb, Tripura: Biplab Kumar Deb, became the first BJP chief minister of Tripura after the red bastion fell to the saffron force in the recent assembly poll, with BJP winning a two-thirds majority with ally IPFT.
- Neiphiu Rio, Nagaland: Nationalist Democratic Progressive Party (NDPP) leader Neiphiu Rio, is currently serving his fourth term as chief minister of the state.
- Conrad Sangma, Meghalaya: Conrad, backed by BJP, was sworn in as CM recently with other constituents of the new government being United Democratic Party (UDP), Hill State People’s Democratic Party (HSPDP) and People’s Democratic Front (PDF).
- Biren Singh, Manipur: He is the first ever BJP Chief Minister in Manipur.
- Sarbananda Sonowal, Assam: Sonowal formed his government in the state in 2016, when the BJP had won 60 assembly seats on its own, while AGP and BPF won 14 and 12 seats respectively, taking the alliance’s strength to 86 in the 126-member house.
- Pawan Chamling, Sikkim: He became the Chief Minister of Sikkim in December 1994. In Sikkim, Pawan Chamling’s ruling SDF is an ally of the BJP and a member of North-East Democratic Alliance (NEDA).
- Pema Khandu, Arunachal Pradesh: In December 2016, Khandu had claimed majority to form the government in Arunachal Pradesh after he moved to BJP with 33 MLAs.
The entire region of the North East has been neglected and often held the significance of an afterthought in Indian politics. But the NDA government relentlessly pushing its inclusive development agenda in the region, bringing rapid enhancements in connectivity and infrastructure, the region is experiencing an increasing importance in national affairs.