The BJP is banking on infrastructure projects launched by the Narendra Modi government for brightening its election prospects in the Northeastern region, said party leaders. While the party is joining hands with Indigenous People’s Front of Tripura (IPFT) in Tripura, where the BJP is in battle with the CPI(M), the party will rely on intense campaign and the “trust” Modi enjoys among the electorate in Meghalaya and Nagaland.
“After meeting Home Minister Rajnath Singh, following which he had announced a three-member team to study the socio-economic problems of Tripura, the IPFT has agreed to work with the BJP in Tripura. The nature of the alliance will be decided by party’s central leadership,” Sunil Deodhar, BJP national executive member in charge of Tripura told The Indian Express on Wednesday.
Asked about the criticism of Opposition parties about the separatist demands of the IPFT, Deodhar said the tribal body had assured that it has decided to work with the BJP to uproot the Communist government and that would be its priority as of now. He also made it clear that his party does not support the IPFT’s demand for a separate state for the tribal population. The BJP is also holding discussions with other tribal parties as part of efforts to stitch a strong social alliance to unseat the Left government, which has had an uninterrupted reign of 25 years.
However, government sources were tightlipped if the elections in Nagaland, scheduled to be held along with Tripura and Meghalaya in February-March, should be postponed.
Sources said the government has received a number of pleas from various bodies in the state to defer the polling due to security reasons. The Naga Hoho, a prominent Naga tribal body, had sought Modi’s intervention in deferring the poll saying the insurgency problem should be resolved first.
According to the tribal group, an exceptional situation has been prevailing in the state as a result of the ongoing negotiations for a peace accord with the militant group NSCN-IM. “We cannot make any comment on that because its a call taken by the Election Commission,” Union Minister of Development of North East Region Jitendra Singh said.
Singh said the BJP government’s initiatives and the infrastructure projects in the northeastern region which, he said, had been neglected till 2014, would be the highlight of the state elections.
According to Singh, after the Modi government took over in 2014, a series of infrastructure projects including airports, railway connectivity and new roads have been initiated.
“An idea for air dispensaries in which helicopters can be used to transport patients and reach medical facilities has been mooted. The discussions are on and they are expected to be launched in Meghalaya and Manipur soon,” Singh said.