Commenting on the triumph of the BJP in the elections to three north-eastern states, Rashtriya Sahara, in its editorial on March 4, writes: “Among the results of elections in the three states, the verdict in Tripura is being considered extremely important from a political point of view. The BJP has taken only five years for its journey from zero to the position of governance… Achieving a two-thirds majority can be described as a great success. But going into the details, much more than a success for the BJP, the verdict is the defeat of the CPM and other so-called secular parties. It is being said that even after 25 years in office, the Left could not achieve the desired level of development. Despite Chief Minister Manik Sarkar’s image as an honest leader, groupism within the CPM affected its cadres. The anti-incumbency factor was also at work. The irresponsible attitude of the Congress too contributed to the outcome in Tripura. The party took the election lightly instead of running an aggressive campaign”.
Sahafat, in its editorial on March 5, writes: “The BJP’s alliance with the tribal group, the Indigenous People’s Front of Tripura (IPFT), was very successful. The tribals in Tripura want a separate state. But the BJP was cleverly silent on this issue during the campaign and thus kept Bengalis satisfied and most of them voted for the party… Apart from Tripura, in the states with a majority of Christians (Nagaland and Meghalaya), the BJP cautiously kept the issue of beef eating out of discussion”.
Shakeel Shamsi, editor of Inquilab, in his signed column on March 5, points out that the actual voting figures reveal the magnitude of BJP victory in the region is not as grand as is being made out. Actually, even in Tripura, the BJP has secured only 0.3 per cent more votes than the communists (43 per cent for BJP as against 42.7 per cent for communists), even though in terms of seats won, the margin of BJP victories has been quite large”.
The arrest of Karti Chidambaram, son of senior Congress leader and former Union finance minister, P Chidambaram, on allegations of bribery and money laundering connected with the INX Media case has become a political controversy. Roznama Khabrein, in its editorial on March 2 writes: “The Congress has attributed political motives to the action against Karti. According to it, this whole issue has been raised to divert the attention of the people from the Punjab National Bank scam involving Nirav Modi… The Karti affair has been under investigation for a long time and all the actions have apparently been taken under the purview of law. Trying to find an aspect of political vendetta in this matter is a hurried reaction… The judiciary is independent in our country and it does not work under any type of pressure. What was the outcome of the 2G scam? The CBI could not prove its allegations after many years of its efforts. If Karti is spotless, he would be proved to be so”.
Akhbar-e-Mashriq, in its editorial on the same day, writes: “It is to be mentioned that Karti did not flee from the country.”
Hindustan Express, in its editorial on March 2, writes: “There have been apprehensions that after Karti’s arrest, it may be the turn of many leaders of opposition parties. It is being said that BJP is preparing to make a great election issue (before 2019) with such arrests. Karti’s arrest may be only a trailer. The entire film might only unfold after a few moments”.
Army Chief Bipin Rawat’s statement about the rise of the All India United Democratic Front of Assam has been the subject of much criticism. All-India Majlis-e-Ittehad-ul-Muslemeen’s Etemaad, in its editorial on February 23, writes: “Ajmal’s political party is working in a democratic manner and systematically takes part in elections. The expression of anxiety about it by the Chief of Army Staff is a matter of concern for the people of a secular and democratic country… If the statement of the Army chief that the population of Muslims is rising in northeastern states due to the conspiracy of China and Pakistan is correct, why is India not putting pressure on Bangladesh to stop infiltration or not strengthening its border with Bangladesh as it is in Jammu and Kashmir? If the population of Muslims is so large, how did the BJP come to power there? And, why was there a reduction in the number of MLAs from Ajmal’s party? The fact is none of the organisations involved in militancy in the northeastern states is a Muslim organisation.”
Jamaat-e-Islam’s bi-weekly Daawat, on February 28, writes: “The Army should be kept away from politics. When the work for a National Register of Citizens in Assam is going on under the supervision of the Supreme Court, where is the scope for politics?”