Eastern Mirror Desk
Dimapur, March 16: With the Lok Sabha elections set to begin next month, political analysts and common people alike are closely watching the poll pendulum swing. Bigger states usually hog all the limelight during general elections because of more parliamentary seats and smaller states are completely ignored; but Northeast, which comprise of eight small states with some having a lone representation, will get its share of attention this time around.
If a “close fight” predicted by political pundits has anything to go by, both the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) and Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) cannot afford to ignore smaller states in the upcoming election. While the NDA could be brimming with confidence after the landslide win in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, the recent win in Hindi-belt states—Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan with 65 LS seats—has rejuvenated the UPA. With the competition expected to be fierce, performance in Northeast will be vital for both the alliances.
Northeast zone: Current political scenario
The political landscape of the Northeast, once a stronghold of the Congress for decades, has undergone a dramatic change in the last few years with BJP slowly gaining ground. Today, all the eight states in the region are ruled either by the saffron party (via coalition) or its allies. So, the party perhaps holds the advantage. However, the Congress party will be determined to regain its lost ground, and its influence in the region cannot be undermined. Moreover, the controversial Citizenship Amendment Bill, which rocked the entire region, and the Permanent Residence Certificate (PRC) issue that led to violence in Arunachal Pradesh could go against the BJP.
This set-up will make the battle between the two national parties, or rather alliances, in the region interesting.
The state has one representation in the lower house of the parliament and the incumbent MP Tokheho Yepthomi is from the Nationalist Democratic Progressive Party (NDPP), an ally of the BJP. Yepthomi defeated Naga People’s party (NPF) candidate C Apok Jamir in the bypoll last year. The 17th Lok Sabha election will take place in the state on April 11.
The People’s Democratic Alliance (PDA), a coalition of NDPP, BJP, National People’s Party (NPP), Janata Dal (United) and Independent (IND), is currently ruling the state.
The state has 14 Lok Sabha seats, the highest among the northeastern states. In the last elections, BJP won seven seats, while Congress and All India United Democratic Front won three each, and one seat went to an Independent (IND). The voting for the upcoming Lok Sabha will be conducted in the state in three phases: April 11, 18 and 23.
The NDA, comprising BJP, Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) and Bodoland People’s Front (BPF), is currently in power in the state.
The Congress swept both the Lok Sabha seats in the last elections in Manipur. The two constituencies will go to polls in two phases: on April 11 and April 18.
The state is currently ruled by a coalition led by the BJP. The saffron party formed the government in the state with its NDA partners National People’s Party (NPP) and Lok Janshakti Party (LJP), and former ally in Nagaland —Naga People’s Front (NPF).
Congress won the lone parliamentary seat in Mizoram in 2014. The voting for the upcoming Lok Sabha polls will take place in the state on April 11.
The Mizo National Front (MNF), a member of BJP-led anti-Congress forum called North East Democratic Alliance (NEDA), is currently ruling the state.
The state has two seats in the lower house of the parliament. The BJP and Congress won one seat each in the last elections. The state will go to the polls again for the 17th Lok Sabha elections in a single phase, on April 11.
The BJP is currently in power in the state.
The two incumbent members of parliament from the state belong to Congress and NPP. For the upcoming Lok Sabha elections, polling for both the seats will be held in a single phase on April 11.
The state is currently ruled by NPP-led Meghalaya Democratic Alliance (MDA), a coalition government with United Democratic Party (UDP), People’s Democratic Front (PDF), Hill State People’s Democratic Party (HSPDP), BJP, and an Independent (IND).
The Sikkim Democratic Front (SDF), a member of BJP-led NDA, won the lone parliamentary seat in the previous general election. The state will go to the polls for the 17th Lok Sabha on April 11.
The state is currently ruled by SDF.
The state has two Lok Sabha seats and the Communist Party of India (Marxist) won both in 2014. With the five-year term of the lower house coming to an end soon, it will go to the polls again in two phases: on April 11 and 18th.
The BJP and its NDA ally Indigenous People’s Front of Tripura (IPFT) are currently in power in the state.
The elections for 543 parliamentary seats will be held seven phases starting April 11 till May 19, and the counting of votes will be done on May 23, 11 days before the term of the 16th Lok Sabha ends. More than 900 million people are eligible to vote, making it world’s largest democratic exercise.