By Anuraag Baruah
Apart from the historic win in Tripura, BJP has actually managed to grab just 2 seats in Meghalaya and 12 in Nagaland. Yes, it is a huge improvement and one can say that BJP has finally made its way into the Northeast. But more than that what is significant is the rise of regional satraps across the Northeast states and BJP’s growing influence on them.
Well I would like to call it the ‘Satrap Scheme’ of BJP.
Formation of NEDA (North East Democratic Alliance) was central to this scheme. It was and is a platform of uniting all the regional key-players across the NE States, the importance of which was recognized very early by the likes of Ram Madhav and Himanta Biswa Sarma.
One can realize the effectiveness of this ‘Satrap Scheme’ when Himanta Biswa Sarma was sent to Meghalaya on Saturday night to try negotiate and form a Non-Congress Government even when BJP had actually managed to grab only 2 seats in the state. The growing confidence of the BJP comes from the good performance of the Satraps of Northeast, many of which are actually part of the NEDA or the NDA Government at the Centre.
In Nagaland, with 12 seats, BJP is in the thick of action as its local alliance partner NDPP with 17 seats has performed exceedingly well, so much so that the ruling NPF can be completely sidelined and even then a government is possible with the support of the lone JD(U) winner and Independent Candidate which BJP has in fact already achieved.
In Tripura, even though the BJP has gained absolute majority by itself, the alliance with the local party IPFT seems to have worked in favour of the party. BJP has realized that alliance with a local party not only helps it in connecting more with the local issues but also helps it in transforming it into more votes. In the case of Tripura, the alliance with IPFT made the people consider that if voted to power, BJP will look into the IPFT issue as they will be coalition partners in the Govt.
I will say this very ‘Satrap Scheme’ even helped BJP in Assam when it forged an alliance with AGP, the regional party of Assam. Even in the case of Assam, though BJP had gained absolute majority by itself, the alliance with AGP helped BJP in portraying itself as a more patient and understanding listener of the local issues during the run-up to the polls which later transformed into votes giving it a never before majority in Assam.