Prime Minister Narendra Modi wants to “unite” the Northeast and the Northeast Democratic Alliance of six parties should include the eight major Ministers of the region, BJP chief Amit Shah said today in what is seen as the clearest suggestion of the party’s regional plans ahead of the next round of assembly elections. The second conclave of the alliance in Delhi- attended by five key ministers of the region – was a strategic session aimed at achieving this.
The BJP governs three of the eight northeastern states, Assam, Manipur, Arunachal Pradesh; its allies in the NEDA other two, Nagaland and Sikkim. Assembly elections are due in the three non-NEDA states – Tripura, Meghalaya and Mizoram. The elections in Tripura ruled by the left and will be held later this year. Mizoram and Meghalaya governed by Congress will go to the polls early next year.
Narendra Bhai (PM Modi) has called him ‘Asthe Lakshmi’ (the eight Lakshmis, known to be the goddess of prosperity), “Mr. Shah said in his opening address at the conclave.
The crucial meeting for NEDA – a BJP coalition and five Northeast regional parties – was formed just after the BJP won the assembly elections in Assam in 2016. It was the creation of Mr. Shah and the dominant BJP acquisition of Assam Congress, Himanta Biswa Sarma, who is currently Deputy Prime Minister Sarbananda Sonowal and the NEDA coordinator. It was said that the aim of the coalition was to unite all non-congressional parties in the region and work for their development.
Today, Shah said PM Modi lists development in the Northeast among its top priorities. The Prime Minister, he said, has made a “list” to “ensure that all ministers visit the Northeast regularly.” Adequate monitoring of this list is being carried out, “he added.
Since its resounding victory in the general elections of 2014, the BJP had embarked on an aggressive expansion plan and smart alliances in the northeast, a region where the party had an insignificant presence. His success had been rapid – from scratch, the party had climbed three states in the past year.
The advance came with a huge victory in the Assam assembly elections, where he dismissed the three-day Congress government led by Tarun Gogoi. In late 2016, the party formed the government in Arunachal Pradesh after 33 lawmakers from the Arunachal People’s Party joined him. In March, the party formed the government in Manipur, managing to bring together a majority despite a verdict divided into assembly elections.