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3-min read

BJP to Snatch Tripura from Left, Congress Set to Lose Meghalaya, Say Exit Polls

In Nagaland, the BJP and its allies are expected to bag 27-32 seats in the 60-seat Assembly.

Suhas Munshi | News18.com

Updated:February 27, 2018, 10:50 PM IST
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BJP to Snatch Tripura from Left, Congress Set to Lose Meghalaya, Say Exit Polls
A young voter shows his finger marked with indelible ink after he cast his vote during Nagaland Assembly elections, in Dimapur. (File Photo: PTI)
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BJP will be just one state short of a Congress-mukt North-East if exit poll results on the three states of Nagaland, Meghalaya and Tripura are to be believed.

While Congress has been pushed out of Assam, Manipur and Arunachal in polls held after 2014 general elections, Congress-governed Meghalaya, which goes to polls as the only non-BJP ruled state in North-East when results of the three states are announced on March 3, if exit polls are to be believed.

Two exit polls have predicted a Congress rout in all the three states, and have suggested BJP coming to power in all three states with help from regional players.

These are the results of the two exit polls.

Tripura

In Tripura, exit polls predict the 25-year-old CPI(M) government to be replaced with BJP.

According to the Axis Poll, BJP and allies are likely to bag between 45 and 50 seats, while Manik Sarkar led CPI (M) is likely to get only between 9 to 10 seats. For a party like BJP, which bagged just 5.70 % votes in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections and 1.5 % votes in the 2013 Assembly polls, a victory in Tripura will be a huge confidence booster.

The NewsX polls have given BJP and its regional ally IPFT between 35-45, and the left 14-23. Congress is unlikely to even open its account in this state according to the exit polls.

In an interview with News18, BJP’s North-East in-charge Ram Madhav had called the elections in Tripura the “Battle Royale” or the toughest challenge for his party among the three states that went to polls this month.

Tripura was a bipolar contest between BJP and the Left. The seriousness with which Madhav and his party canvassed the state and wooed the voters is clear from the senior leaders who held multiple rallies in the state. Prime Minister Narendra Modi himself, along with Rajnath Singh, Arun Jaitley, Amit Shah and Yogi Adityanath, held multiple meetings and rallies in the run up to elections in Tripura.

The CPI (M), on the other hand, depended mainly on the Chief Minister Manik Sarkar and senior leaders such as Sitaram Yechury, Prakash Karat and Brinda Karat. In the assembly that they were almost certain to not win, Congress made only a half-hearted campaign pitch with a last day rally of party president Rahul Gandhi.

Nagaland

In Nagaland, where BJP shunned its over a-decade-and-a-half old ally NPF and joined forces with NDPP, both the exit polls have predicted exactly the same result. Both have given BJP+ between 27-32 seats, NPF 20-25 seats and Congress between 0-2 seats.

In this state dominated by followers of Christianity, BJP had interestingly offered an all-expense paid trip for 50 senior citizens, chosen by drawing lots, to Jerusalem annually. This is the state which has often seen demand for greater Nagalim become a poll issue.

From BJP, Prime Minister Narendra Modi spearheaded the party’s poll campaign in this state. Other senior leaders like party president Amit Shah, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, Information and Broadcasting Minister Smriti Irani held several rallies. BJP’s MoS for Tourism KJ Alphons, a Christian from Kerala, stayed put in Meghalaya as the BJP in-charge of the state.

Meghalaya

In Meghalaya, the NewsX polls have given BJP between 8 to 12 seats, Congress between 13-17 seats and NPP between 23-27 seats.

On the face of it, this looks to be the only state where Congress may end up winning more seats than BJP, but then it doesn’t seem much of an achievement for Congress, given the fact that they were in power here for over the last 10 years and the fact that BJP did not even open its account the last time assembly elections were held here – in 2013.

Going from zero to anywhere between 8 to 12 seats will be a welcome beginning for the BJP in the state, and for the Congress which won 29 seats in 2013, being reduced to under 20 will be a serious cause of concern. NPP’s Conrad Kongkal Sangma will be the man of the moment in the state, the exit poll has suggested. Although his party did not get into a pre-poll alliance with the BJP, the two are understood to have entered into an understanding with each other and are most likely to form the government in Meghalaya.

The three states, whose assembly poll results will be announced on March 3, are crucial in view of the general polls scheduled next year. With a combined strength of 25 Lok Sabha seats and 14 Rajya Sabha berths, these states will give a huge advantage to the national party, between BJP or Congress, that fares better.

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