On Monday, Meghalaya and Nagaland will both vote to elect new assemblies. This is an important test for the BJP’s popularity before the 2024 general elections, especially in the two northeastern states, where the party had formed its first governments in partnership with regional parties five years ago.
PM Modi sought to rally people around the BJP’s message of “peace and progress” and to capitalize on the Modi wave that had swept India in 2014.
The party is looking to expand its footprint further in a region that has been largely hostile to its Hindutva politics and was once considered a Congress stronghold.
The NDPP-BJP alliance won a majority of 30 seats in the 2018 assembly elections, enabling Neiphiu Rio to become CM for the fourth time.
The BJP had formed a coalition government in Meghalaya but withdrew prior to the 2019 assembly polls. Congress won 21 seats, NP and BJP 2 each, while the rest went to regional parties and independents. However, there was a shift of allegiance among 20 MLAs.
Meghalaya and Nagaland will go to polls on 27th February 2018, and the results will be declared on 3rd March.
Women are underrepresented in terms of candidates and legislators in both states, despite comprising a majority of the electorate. Of the 552 candidates across 118 constituencies, only 7% are women.
Nagaland has never elected a woman legislator, and this time, four candidates – NDPP’s Hekhani Jakhalu and Salhoutuonuo, Congress’s Rosy Thompson, and BJP’s Kahuli Sema – stand out.
This year, 36 female candidates are contesting in the Meghalaya elections, which follow a matrilineal society. In the past, three women were elected in 2018, four in 2013, and one in 2008.
Thirty-six female candidates are contesting in Meghalaya’s elections, a matrilineal society. In the past, 3 were elected in 2018, 4 in 2013, and 1 in 2008.
Congress has a chance to regain its influence in both Meghalaya and Nagaland, as it had finished as the single largest party in the 2018 elections in Meghalaya. However, despite having just two seats, the BJP succeeded in forming an alliance with six other parties that gave it a majority in the state. This presents Congress with an opportunity to reclaim its pre-eminent position in the region.
On March 2, the votes of both states will be taken into account, accompanying Tripura, which voted on February 16.
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