Another north-eastern state is going the saffron way, if the exit poll results turn out to be similar to that of the real one. The BJP has been projected to win 25 to 31 seats. Even if it remains on the lower side, the saffron party will be able to hold the reins in a small state like Manipur where there are only 60 MLAs. In the CVoter exit polls, the ruling Congress is trailing second at a probable 17 to 23 seats. It’s going to be a big turnaround for BJP as the party failed to open its account in the 2012 elections. On the other hand, it will be a major downfall for Okram Ibobi-led government which came to power with a stunning majority in 2012. Congress is now comfortably placed in the House with 42 seats.
With Assam already in its kitty, it’s going to be the BJP’s third state among the eight north-eastern states. And Congress will be left with Mizoram and Meghalaya only. The prospect of Congress is not very bright in Meghalaya either. The state is going to polls next year. The Opposition United Democratic Party (UDP) and National People’s Party (NPP) have already joined the fold of North East Development Alliance (NEDA). Although NEDA is said to a group for development of North-east, the political objective is blatantly clear. It’s just a matter of time when these parties would declare their alliance with the BJP. It’s not surprising that regional parties in the North-east always tend to ally with the party at the Centre.
If exit polls are on the right direction, the saffron map is going to expand further across the nation. In Uttar Pradesh too, BJP is said to be winning the maximum number of seats. However, Punjab will be a big loss for the SAD-BJP alliance government, and huge feat for the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP). Overall, the BJP is not going to gain as much as it expected. But, it’s another disaster for the Congress. Only solace the Congress can have is that the party was not projected to win any of the states and after three terms Manipur results would have the impact of anti-incumbency. Let’s wait for the final verdict on March 11.
(Published as editorial in The Meghalaya Guardian on March 10, 2017)