By: Shubham Ghosh
India’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which has been facing flak from the opposition over alleged targeting of the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) and the massive slump faced by the Adani Group, found a welcome relief from exit polls that predicted the saffron party expanding its footprint in the country’s northeast by clinching two states and a big share of seats in another.
An aggregate of exit polls said that the BJP was set to come to power in Nagaland with ally Nationalist Democratic Progressive Party and win at least seven seats in Meghalaya, up from two. In Tripura, which the BJP wrested from the Left in 2018, could still retain power but its performance could be lacklustre compared to five years ago.
The exit polls also indicated that the Indian National Congress, which is trying to regain some lost ground ahead of next year’s general elections, could be facing its biggest debacle in the northeast in these polls — winning only one seat in Nagaland and six in Meghalaya where it finished as the single-largest party last time.
The counting of votes in all the three states will take place on Thursday (2). Exit poll results are, however, not final one and could change on the day of actual counting.
All the three states have 60-member assemblies.
An aggregate of four exit polls indicated that the BJP might get 32 seats in Tripura, where the majority mark is 31. Tipra Motha, a new party floated by erstwhile royal Pradyot Kishore Debbarma with a core demand of a Greater Tipraland, could get 12 seats.
The Left, which ruled the state for more than 30 years, is likely to get only 15 seats while the Congress, its unexpected ally for this election, might not add anything to its last time tally of zero.
Tipra Motha, the new party floated by erstwhile royal Pradyot Kishore Debbarma with the core demand of Greater Tipraland — is likely to bag 12 seats.
In Meghalaya, the race could be tight with chief minister Conrad Sangma’s National People’s Party (NPP) likely to end up as the single-largest party with 20 seats, according to the aggregate of four exit polls. The BJP, which won two seats in 2018, could see its tally increasing by three times or more. The Congress, which won 21 seats last time, could see winning only six while Trinamool Congress, a new entrant, could open its account with 11 seats. The BJP though succeeded in cobbling together a government with the NPP even with just two seats in 2018.
In Nagaland, the BJP-NDPP alliance is expected to bag 42 seats, way above the majority mark of 31. The Nagaland Peoples Front, which was the single-largest party last time with 26 seats, is likely to win only six seats and the Congress, which drew a blank in 2018, one.