Making its debut in the North East From Looking to Acting

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North East debut. And the BJP has every reason to be delighted with its showing at Assam. Making its debut in the North East and in the process unseating the Congress Government under Tarun Gogoi which had already completed three consecutive terms in office and the victory at the polls must be all that sweeter. Obviously the results of the Assam election can have an impact on the other North Eastern States and to be sure the State unit of the BJP here can be expected to pile the pressure on the Congress Government here, which again is going to complete three consecutive terms in office. Still a bit early but it would be naive to write off the results of the Assam election as of no consequence. Sarbananda Sonowal has already spelt out the priorities of the BJP Government in Assam and his announcement that Assam will be made free of Bangladeshis will certainly find backers here too, for there are reasons to believe that infiltrators from Bangladesh could have made their way here too. This is all that more so given the strong protest launched by the Joint Committee on Inner Line Permit System. Early days yet but Assam has already demonstrated that it wanted change and the Assembly election was the opportune moment to underline this point. The BJP debut in the North East is also significant in the backdrop of the fact that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has managed to successfully transform the Look East Policy to Act East Policy and underlined the point that the idea of India cannot be complete without the North East.

It is this which will go down well with the people of the region and its impact may be felt when Manipur goes to polls in the early part of next year. Other than the Act East Policy, Narendra Modi has again managed to send out the right message in instructing his Council of Ministers to visit the North East States regularly. Such a measure can go some distance in bridging the mental divide between the region and other parts of the country. As things stand, the Naga People’s Front (NPF) has already struck an alliance with the BJP and the fact that Nagaland Chief Minister TR Zeliang personally campaigned for the BJP during the Assam Assembly election is not something which will be forgotten that easily. With Assembly election scheduled in the early part of next year, then Manipur will obviously be the next target after Assam for the BJP. A point which would not have missed the Congress. It however remains that 2017 is still some months away and the Congress Government here may come up with its own course of action, but it is nonetheless interesting to see that there is now one political party which can take the fight to the Congress. Something very different from what the State saw when Manipur went to polls in 2012.

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