In NE, NDA is Biggest Block Now
NDA has nudged out the Congress in Assam, winning half the 14 seats against Cong’s 3
BIKASH SINGH & TAMAL SENGUPTA
InWestBengalandtheNortheast,peoplehave forever been used to political entities like the Left Front, Congress and Trinamool Congress. Except for a miniscule portion of the trading community, the BJP has never quite had a support base. That has changed with the 2014 parliamentary elections. As the Modi wave swept across the country, theBJPmadegainsinthemostunexpectedof places.InWestBengal,forexample,itwontwo seats: Darjeeling and Asansol. In 2009, the BJP got just 6.14% votes in West Bengal. In 2014, it already had 17.2% of votes untilFridayevening,anditwasstillclimbing. Also,theBJPwasaveryclosesecond,andsurprisinglyso,atkeyconstituencieslikeKolkata North, Kolkata South and Malda South. It is true that as the Modi wave became evident, there were expectations of the BJP perhaps bagging some seats. But even winning two places on its own is considered good enough, because it would enable the party to consolidate its strength in at least 14 assembly constituencies that form the two Lok Sabha seats. BJP’s state president and candidate for Kolkata North, Rahul Sinha, said the saffron partycouldnotdowellbecauseof riggingand capturing of booths by the ruling Trinamool Congress. “In the days ahead, the ruling Trinamool Congress will have to face the BJP as its main challenger,” Sinha added. In the Northeast, the BJP-led National DemocraticAlliancemadehugeinroadsin a region that has always been recog
nised as a Congress fortress. Out of 24 Lok Sabha seats in the region, the NDA has won 10. In its best performance ever, the NDA has nudged out the Congress in Assam, winning half the 14 seats against Congress’ tally of three. A shocked Congress Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi conceded that he had read the situation wrong.
The BJP got one seat in Arunachal Pradesh, while an ally, Naga People’s Front, won from the only constituency in Nagaland. In Meghalaya, another ally, National People’s Party, won the Tura seat. In 2009, the BJP had won just four seats in Assam, while on Friday the Congress won a mere eight seats in the whole of Northeast, against 13 in 2009. Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi’s primary candidate for Guwahati seat, Manas Bora, was defeated.
At Kokrajhar in Assam, Congress partner Bodoland Peoples Front suffered a major setback as former ULFA militant Naba Kumar Sarania (Hira), standing as an independent, won comprehensively. As the BJP made its inroads, 2014 proved to be the worst year for theCongressandbothAssamChief Minister Gogoi and party president Bhubaneswar Kalita offered to resign taking responsibility.
Feeling the Heat: Tarun Gogoi