Focus on non-NDA states for 2018 polls

New Delhi: With BJP set to form the government in Manipur with support from the National People’s Party (NPP), the Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) and the Naga People’s Front (NPF), the party’s focus will soon shift to the non-NDA states of Meghalaya, Mizoram and Tripura, which will go to polls next year.
After BJP’s spectacular victory in Assam last May, party president Amit Shah piloted the idea of the North East Democratic Alliance (NEDA) with an aim to make the North East Congress-free. Himanta Biswa Sarma, who left the Congress for BJP, is leading the front.
The regional ally of the saffron party is NPP in Meghalaya where the Congress is facing dissidence and the Mizo National Front (MNF) in Mizoram where the Congress has a stable government.
In Left Front-ruled Tripura, BJP is in talks with tribal parties. The Congress’s decision to tie up with the CPI-M in West Bengal left the former bruised in Tripura as two of its MLAs defected to the Trinamool Congress.
BJP formed the government in Arunachal Pradesh following defection.
For Nagaland, Tripura, Mizoram and Meghalaya – which are scheduled for elections next year – the central BJP is yet to come clear on pre-poll alliance with regional parties.
On supporting BJP in Manipur, NPP president Conrad Sangma said it was natural to work with BJP considering both the parties are in alliance at the Centre.
Manipur also threw many surprises in this election with the highest ever turnout and NPP’s victory in four seats. With NPP extending support to BJP in Manipur, its strained tied will improve which will have a bearing in the next polls in Meghalaya.
Assam Minister Sarma, who is heading NEDA, said the party has the support of 30 MLAs in Manipur’s 60-member Assembly and will have 31 MLAs on the day of trust vote.
While the BJP finished second to the Congress in terms of seats won, its vote share (36.3 per cent) was higher than that of Congress’s 35.1 per cent.
BJP used the higher voter share to justify the party staking claim to form government in Manipur.

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