Bright Future For North East
The BJP and other organisations like the RSS and RK Mission worked tirelessly for decades in the North East through schools and hospitals and other social service centres. This gave some elbow space for the BJP to make headway into an area which was considered unapproachable for them
Photo Credit : PTI
The first saffron hues of the rising sun greet India from Arunachal Pradesh in North East. BJP's spectacular victory and forming government in Tripura, Nagaland, and now in Meghalaya, signal a new dawn for the North East. The yearning for change and realising the aspirations were on the top of the voter's mind in these states. When the BJP won Assam last year the die was cast for the other states too. Hard work by the cadre, meticulous planning, astute selection of political allies and above all tremendous anti-incumbency factor-all these factors worked in unison for the BJP's victory and the total rout of the Left in Tripura. While for the BJP it is three more states in its all India tally, for the Left loss of Tripura is one more nail in its coffin.
The failure of the Naga People's Front (NPF) in Nagaland and the Congress in Meghalaya to keep their voter base intact is evident from the voting percentage. The NPF's vote share came down to 39.1% from 47.04% in 2013 and that of the Congress fell to 2,1% from 24.89% in 2013. The BJP's voting went up to 14.4% from a mere 1.75 taking its seats share to 11 from one seat in 2013. Even JD(U) and Independents did better than the one and a half century old Congress. It is clear as daylight that the new president of the Congress has been unable to enthuse his party workers, botched up the candidate selection and election strategy and failed to provide an acceptable agenda to the electorate. Congress Chief Minister of Meghalaya, a practising doctor from Tura who accidentally strayed in to politics is believed to have been told to manage the campaign on his own. In the face of dissent, party rivalry and rebel candidates' sabotage, Dr. Mukul Sangma has been able to poll 28.5% votes as compared to 34.78% in 2013 but reducing his seats to 21 from 29. In the emerging scenario, with NPP and UDP coming together with BJP's mentoring, Congress has lost one more state in the North East.
For years, the Congress and the Left kept their stranglehold on the North East but did precious little for the development of the area or for the economic growth of the people. Infrastructure was non-existent; as a result tourism which was an important source of income suffered. With no manufacturing process or industrial growth, lack of assistance to marginal farmers engaged in horticulture and cash crops, unemployment rose to phenomenal proportions. Social development indices were at the worst level in the Left ruled Tripura. Additionally,both the Congress and the Left heavily depended on insurgent groups garner votes and rig the elections for them and in the bargain allow them to run parallel administration, even collect revenue.
All this has to end now. Development of North East is very important not only for the economic well being of the local people but also the national economy as a whole. Prime Minister Modi has time and again reiterated his resolve to develop Norh East as the gateway to South East Asia and pave way for the robust growth of the region through his Look East-Act East Policy.
North East has had a raw deal right from the time of India's Independence when the British actually wanted to "keep a bit of India" to themselves. The "Crown Colony Plan", as it was called, was abandoned suddenly but the road map that the British laid wreaked havoc in the area. Tribal conflicts, alienation, identity politics and subservience of political parties and leaders to motley gun totting insurgent groups became the rule of the game. Where was the time or inclination for development?
The BJP and other organisations like the RSS and RK Mission worked tirelessly for decades in the North East through schools and hospitals and other social service centres. This gave some elbow space for the BJP to make headway into an area which was considered unapproachable for them. In less than three years, the situation has changed significantly.
With NDA/BJP governments in six out of seven states in the North East, Modi is in a position of great advantage to steam roll his economic agenda with full force. Already the Prime Minister has mandated his ministerial colleagues to spend maximum time in the North East. The centre will have to work out a all-round development package that would include infrastructure, health, education and support to farming. Connectivity plays an important role in that area as also infrastructure like cold storage, collective farming and easy market accessibility. The wish list is endless. But going by the energy, focussed determination, and single minded devotion of the PM to work, the uphill task seems possible.
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