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Tue, 25 Feb 2020

Northeast Today

2019: The year in favour of BJP in Northeast

2019: The year in favour of BJP in Northeast
January 18
11:33 2020

The year 2019 was action packed, turbulent and exciting for the entire North East region. There was the general election, plus the state election in the states of Arunachal Pradesh and Sikkim, and besides that there were new initiatives in the states.

The issue of the updated National Registrar of Citizens and the proposed Citizenship Amendment Bill also shook the region. 

We look at some of the most important events that each of the states experienced this year. Northeast Today reports.

 

Arunachal Pradesh

Arunachal Pradesh was buzzing with activities from the first day of the year, as both state and national elections were around the corner. Though the state has only two Lok Sabha seats, the state was also going for the state assembly election. The BJP was banking on the young, dynamic and highly popular Chief Minister of the state, Pema Khandu to deliver for the BJP.

BJP won a landslide victory in the state assembly election, winning 41 of the 60 assembly seats and Khandu was sworn in as the chief minister of the state for a second time. BJP also managed to win both the Lok Sabha seats in the state–Kiren Rijiju (won the –Arunachal West constituency), and Tapir Gao (won the- Arunachal east constituency).

Rijiju was appointed as the Minister for sports and youth welfare (Independent charge).

Right after taking charge as the chief minister for the second time, Khandu took steps for welfare and development of the state.

As a very people friendly move, the chief minister scrapped 22 of the hydro power projects in the state, and sending a very strong message to the developers of the hydro power projects, the chief minister said that these hydro power project developers have lost confidence of the people, and that department reviews are being conducted in regular intervals and action is being taken against those power developers found non-performing.

This was widely appreciated by people across the region.

Continuing his people friendly approach, Khandu also inaugurated the North East region’s first community-managed mini-hydroelectric project at Dikshi village in West Kameng district, and the 24 kW Dikshi Hydroelectric Project on the Phudungto river is expected to produce 112.40 gigawatt hours of electricity for meeting the power needs of East and West Kameng districts besides major defense establishments.

 

Khandu’s encouragement for innovation also saw some important success. Officials of the administration of Arunachal Pradesh have developed a concept: From bus to classroom, which is an initiative in Arunachal Pradesh sets the wheel of learning into motion. In Arunachal Pradesh, where the rate of primary school dropouts is the highest in the country, disused school buses has been converted into a classroom with heartening results.

In November this year, the Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export development Authority (APEDA) held the first ever international buyer seller meet on agriculture and horticulture produce in Arunachal Pradesh.

But the state has also seen protests. After it was announced that the government is planning to introduce the CAB again in the winter session of the parliament, there was massive protests in the state. Students representing several organizations of Arunachal Pradesh took to the streets to oppose the Central government’s proposal to implement the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill (CAB), 2016.

Assam

Assam was in the national and international limelight from the last year itself after the announcement that the National Register of Citizens (NRC), directorate will publish the final updated draft NRC list at 12 am on January 1, 2019. It was already a hyped international issue. The draft list was published, and over 40 lakh people were left out of the list. The Assam government received praise as well as condemnation from different corners—some appreciating it for taking a bold step, while many accusing it of violations of law.

The government was however severely criticized during the government’s attempt to pass the controversial Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB), and the protests took a violent turn after the previous BJP led central Government passed the CAB in the Lok Sabha. Seeing the growing unpopularity of the CAB and the rising protests, the government didn’t make any attempt to pass it in the Rajya Sabha, where it didn’t have majority (Still doesn’t have majority).

A political storm which had occurred last year, with the AGP breaking away from the BJP led NDA alliance, was nullified after the government didn’t make any attempt to pass the CAB in the Rajya Sabha.

The NDA alliances in Assam—comprising BJP, AGP and BPF formed an alliance for the Lok Sabha—BJP contested 10 seats, AGP 3 seats and BPF on 1 seat.

Assam however was on the eye of all political parties for the 14 Lok Sabha seats in the state, and all the major political parties campaigned hard for the seats. The BJP won 9 seats, Congress 3 seats, AIUDF 1 seat, while independent candidate Naba Sarania won the Lok Sabha seat from Kokrajhar.

Veteran BJP leader Rameshwar Telli, who won the Lok Sabha election from the Dibrugarh Constituency for the second time, was appointed as the Minister of State (Food Processing).

This year, Assam was also severely affected by flood, and over 2 lakh people were affected by the flood. Over 90 people were killed in the flood, and infrastructure and agriculture worth hundreds of crores were also affected.

Assam again came to the national limelight in August when the final NRC list was published. From the final list however just above 19 lakh people were left out.

In October, along with the election to the states if Maharashtra and Haryana, by election for 4 assembly constituencies in Assam—Jania, Rangapara, Sonari and Ratabari were held. BJP won three of the seats, while AIUDF won Jania.

 

Meghalaya

Meghalaya was volatile in the initial part of the year as the ruling party of the state, NPP, which is in the government took a lead opposing the CAB in the region, and had even threatened to come out of the NDA alliance, of which it is a part.

Chief Minister of Meghalaya, Conrad Sangma, who is also the chief of the NPP, took the lead in opposing the CAB, and he was also joined by most of the regional parties in the North East.

CS-Shillong

In the general election,  out of the two Lok Sabha seats—Agatha Sangma of the NPP won the Tura Lok Sabha seat, while Vincent Pala of the Congress won the Shillong Lok Sabha seat.

Meghalaya was also in the news when the state government announced that to protect the interest of tribal citizens, the Meghalaya cabinet approved the amendment to an act that seeks mandatory registration of outsiders for entering the state.

However, there was lot of positive news from the state as well. Meghalaya hosted the NH7 Weekender Shillong 2019, which is India’s most happening multi-kind music fest.

The state also organized the 4th India International Cherry Blossom Festival, which was attended by thousands of domestic and foreign tourists.

On November 17, massive fire broke out at a century-old church, Church of God, in Meghalaya’s capital city Shillong on Sunday. The flames engulfed most parts of the church and a house adjoining it, and an elderly couple, who lived in the house, reportedly died due to suffocation.

Nagaland

Nagaland was abuzz with whispers and talks about the proposed peace pact and lasting peace in the state. With the state having seen violence and insurgency for decades, all stake holders are looking forward to an early solution.

There were high hopes from all the stake holders when the Government had appointed RN Ravi, a former Intelligence Bureau officer and the Centre’s interlocutor for Naga peace talks as the Nagaland governor.

After the abrogation of the Article 370 and Article 35 A, all eyes were on Nagaland—as the BJP led NDA government has been time and again asserting that it is committed to solving the Nagaland peace talk process. The Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) has even issued a directive to the government agencies overseeing the peace process, to complete it within a time frame.CS Nagaland

Nagaland chief minister Neiphiu Rio has also appealed several times to the central government for an early and everlasting peace pact.

Nagaland sends one Lok Sabha MP from the state, and in the 2019 Lok Sabha election, Tokheho Yepthomi of the NDPP won the seat. Currently the NDPP and the BJP in an alliance are in the government in the state.

The Nagaland government celebrated the Hornbill festival with special attraction, and has also ensured plastic free and zero waste Hornbill Festival 2019.

 

Tripura

Tripura was the state which was in the eye of the nation, as it is a state where the BJP was never expected to win and come into power. Since last year after the BJP came to power by ousting the Left parties, there was always speculation on whether the BJP will be able to keep its dominance in the state.

However the BJP continued its winning streak. In the 2019 Lok sabha election, the BJP won both the Lok Sabha seats in the state. Pratima Bhowmik won from the Tripura West constituency and Rebati Tripura from the Tripura east constituency.

This year the BJP also continued its winning streak in the Panchayat election.CS_ Tripura

Tripura also received a major industrial boost this year. The Centre has given in-principle approval for setting up of Tripura’s first-ever SEZ at Sabroom, at an estimated investment of Rs. 1550 Crore.

Manipur

Manipur experienced turbulent and violent protests for several reasons—mostly protests opposing the CAB. However the ruling government was able to keep things under control each time.

Manipur sends two Lok Sabha MPs to the centre, and the BJP and its alliance partner NPF won one each of these seats.CS_Manipur

The state was however in the news related to the Naga Peace Talks—the public in the state and the Civil Society Groups have been demanding disclosure of the details of the peace pact.

The state was again in the news when two dissident leaders from Manipur claiming to represent King Leishemba Sanajaoba on announced the launch of the “Manipur Government in exile” in London. Addressing a press conference, Yamben Biren, claiming to be the “Chief Minister of Manipur State Council” and Narengbam Samarjit, claiming to be the “Minister of External Affairs and Defence of Manipur State Council” said they were speaking on behalf of the ‘Maharaja of Manipur’ to formally launch the government in exile — “The Manipur State Council“.

Mizoram

Mizoram received a lot of attention from the BJP led NDA government after the MNF government was formed last year, which is in alliance with the BJP as part of the NDA.

Mizoram has one Lok Sabha seat, and the C. Lalrosanga won from that seat.

In October Union home minister Amit Shah visited Mizoram for the first time after taking charge, and he inaugurated the North East Handloom and Handicraft Exhibition, organised by the North East Council, at Aizwal. At the event, he also said the BJP-led government at the Centre has doubled the allocation of funds for developmental projects in Mizoram since the exit of the UPA government.

CS Mizoram

In May Mizoram came into the news for becoming a “completely dry state” following a new liquor law that prohibits the sale and consumption of alcohol, and the Mizoram Assembly also revoked an Act that was enacted to recognise rights of forest land of tribal people traditionally living in jungles, saying it is not relevant in the state.

In October BJP Kerala state president P S Sreedharan Pillai was appointed Mizoram governor.
Sikkim

Sikkim, once considered a politically stable state with a decisive leadership, suffered many political jolts this year. Besides the Lok Sabha election, there was also the state election in Sikkim. CS Sikkim (2)

The SDF, led by former chief minister Pawan Chamling which was in power for 25 years, lost to the Sikkim Krantikari Morcha (SKM). SKM won a majority of seats in the assembly, and Prem Singh Tamang became the chief minister.

In the Lok Sabha election, the lone seat in the state was won by Indra Hang Subba of the SKM.

However there were more political developments in the state. In October BJP won two of the three Assembly seats where bypolls had been held.

Earlier 10 MLAs of the SDF defected to the BJP, and now BJP has 12 MLAs and is the main opposition party.

 

Interestingly in the political front, while BJP is gradually losing its grip in nationwide regional politics, it is still favoured in the states of Northeast India. The Northeast region is both ethically and geographically complex and religion could never overcome ethnic politics and sentiments.  BJP’s success in the Northeast in 2019 is in its capacity to understand the ethnic mind and to capitalize regional aspirations of various groups.

 

 

 

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