In NE, NDA is Big­gest Block Now

NDA has nudged out the Congress in As­sam, win­ning half the 14 seats against Cong’s 3

The Economic Times - - Pure Politics -

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

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