#WhatTheFAQ: It's by-poll votes counting day in Tripura, Meghalaya, Nagaland. Who will win: BJP or opposition?

The first among the nine states that are to go to polls this year, Tripura is the first state to vote. Also, this is after the BJP had a record-breaking win in Gujarat and Uttarakhand assembly polls
Pic: Edex Live
Pic: Edex Live

Ahead of the 2024 Lok Sabha Assembly polls, every opposition political party is trying hard to pull down BJP. And today is the day of the counting of by-poll votes in Tripura, Nagaland and Meghalaya. To note, the polls were held on February 27 for Nagaland and Meghalaya while for Tripura, it was on February 16. Among the first of the nine states that are to go to polls this year, Tripura is the first state to vote. Also, this is after the BJP had a record-breaking win in Gujarat and Uttarakhand assembly polls. 

Additionally, Tripura is also one of the three states in recent times where the BJP changed its chief minister before polls; the others being Gujarat and Uttarakhand, both of which voted the BJP back to power last year. So, why are these north-western states polls important for NDA (National Democratic Alliance) and how is this going to leave a mark? What are the trends indicating? Who all were competing? #WhatTheFAQ is here to disclose it all. 

Who all were competing?

Tripura: Left parties and Congress joined hands for the current polls against BJP. Moreover, Tipra Motha, a regional party by Pradyot Debbarma, a member of Tripura's erstwhile royal family, is also expected to make its presence felt. Additionally, BJP has aligned with IPFT (Indigenous People's Front of Tripura), its partner in the previous assembly polls. While the BJP contested 55 seats of the 60-member assembly, the Left Front fielded candidates in 47 seats and Congress for 13. Tipra Motha fought for 42 seats and Trinamool Congress put up candidates for 28 seats.

Meghalaya: It went to the polls for 59 of its 60 assembly seats as polling for the Sohiong Assembly constituency was postponed due to the demise of the state's former home minister and United Democratic Party (UDP) candidate from the seat, HDR Lyngdoh. While the BJP and Congress contested for 59 seats, the NPP has put up nominees in 56 constituencies. Meghalaya holds significance for the pan-India ambitions of the Trinamool Congress and the party contested 57 seats, as stated in a report by NDTV

Nagaland: Here, the ruling Nationalist Democratic Progressive Party (NDPP) contested 40 seats while its ally BJP put up candidates for 20 seats in the 60-member House. And Congress contested 23 seats in the state. The NDPP-BJP alliance in the state is led by Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio. Moreover, Naga People's Front (NPF) leader Kuzholuzo Nienu has said that the party is open to post-poll arrangements. 

What are the trends like now?

As of now as per the poll data by the Election Commission of India, this is what the numbers look like in these states:

Tripura: BJP (30), CPI (M) (11), Cong (5), IPFT (1), TIPRA Mohta (12), Independent (1)

Meghalaya: CM Conrad Sangma's NPP has maintained a lead in 25 seats, followed by a tight contest between TMC, BJP, UDP and Congress

Nagaland: NDPP-BJP alliance walk towards a win by leading the poll against Congress and other parties

Who were in power in previous years?
In Tripura's 2018 elections, BJP ousted Left parties from their bastion. unseating the CPM after a 35-year-old rule. Similarly, Nagaland saw a coalition of the Nationalist Democratic Progressive Party and Bharatiya Janata Party forming the state government, with Neiphiu Rio becoming Chief Minister. On the other hand, Meghalaya's poll results observed the incumbent Indian National Congress government triumphing to win re-election for the third consecutive time, as stated in reports online. 

Why winning Tripura is important to BJP/PM?

Winning in these northwestern states for BJP or PM Narendra Modi is important for several reasons:

1. This poll will be a boost ahead of the 2024 Lok Sabha Assembly 

2. As BJP ended the two-decade dominance of CPI(M), this poll will test BJP and how strongly reignited, sensitive issues of indigenous politics actually influence electoral results.

3. Winning in Tripura is mainly necessary for Prime Minister Narendra Modi's ‘HIRA’ (highway, internet, railway, and airway) developmental model for the North East

Further, the developmental projects mentioned by the PM in his recent campaigns include the laying of optical fibre in villages, the construction of around 5,000 km of new roads and a new airport in Agartala.

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