• Friday, January 27, 2023

INDIA

Modi’s BJP to face 2023’s first electoral test in India’s northeast as 3 states go to polls in Feb

Indian PM Narendra Modi campaigns for the second phase of the elections in the state of Gujarat on Thursday, December 1, 2022. (ANI Photo)

By: Shubham Ghosh

The north-eastern Indian states of Tripura, Maghalaya, and Nagaland are set to go to polls in February, the Election Commission of India announced on Wednesday (18).

While Tripura will vote on February 16, Meghalaya and Nagaland will go to polls on February 27.

The results will be announced on March 2.

The terms of all the three state assemblies, each having a strength of 60, conclude in March — Nagaland on March 12, Meghalaya on March 15, and Tripura on March 22.

According to reports, the election schedule of the three states was made keeping in mind school examinations and movement of security personnel.

“There are more than 62.8 lakh (6.28 million) electors combined in Nagaland, Meghalaya and Tripura including — 31.47 lakh (3.14 million) female electors, 97,000 80-plus voters. Over 1.76 lakh (0.17 million) first-time voters to participate in the elections in three states,” chief election commissioner Rajiv Kumar said at a news conference.

While the three states are the first to have assembly elections in 2023, a special focus will be on Tripura, a state which prime minister Narendra Modi’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party wrested from the Left, which had ruled it for 25 consecutive years, in 2018.

The BJP is also part of the government in Meghalaya, where the National People’s Party (NPP) will be defending its turf. The NPP is the only party from the region to have a national status,

In Nagaland, the ruling Nationalist Democratic Progressive Party (NDPP) is also in alliance with the BJP.

In Tripura, where the BJP changed the chief minister last year, the Left and the Indian National Congress have joined forces, similar to what they had done unsuccessfully in West Bengal in 2021, to defeat the BJP.

Meghalaya has seen a series of new political alignments in the lead-up to the polls, with several lawmakers switching sides.

The NPP and its ally BJP have seen growing fissures in recent times, but they are expected to be together when it comes to facing the electoral challenges.

The upcoming elections will also be a crucial test for Mamata Banerjee’s Trinamool Congress, which entered Meghalaya two years ago through the defection of 12 of the 17 Congress members of the legislative assembly, led by former chief minister Mukul Sangma. Three of them have since left.

In Nagaland, the United Democratic Alliance (UDA) featuring the NDPP, BJP, and the Naga People’s Front is going strong with no significant opposition.

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