The victory of BJP in north east states– Tripura and Nagaland – is a shot in the arm for the saffron party ahead of elections in the big states such as Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan and Telangana. While Karnataka will go to polls in May this year, the other states will be going to polls by year-end. The BJP is in power in Madhya Pradesh and Karnataka. While the BJP is working hard to wrest power from the Congress in Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh, it is also toiling to retain power in Madhya Pradesh and Karnataka. At the same time, BJP is focused also on Telangana where it is keen to win assembly polls which are slated to be held in December this year.
With this in the background, the BJP’s victory in Tripura and Nagaland is definitely quite significant as it is going to boost morale of the leaders and the workers of the saffron party which is gearing up for polls in the major states, which would be seen as semifinal before the Lok Sabha elections of 2024. The victory in key NE states has given the BJP a much-needed opportunity to send out the message that Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s popularity remains intact despite the opposition’s campaign to tarnish his image. The BJP’s performance in Tripura where it has retained power is more important than any other state in the north east. In fact, the crucial message that the Tripura outcome has given out is that the opposition unity has been ineffective there. The Congress and its arch rivals Left were in alliance, and were trying to showcase it as an experiment of ‘opposition unity’ to be replicated during the 2024 battle. Days before voting, CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechuri had even stated that “the three-corner fight that is unfolding in the tiny but politically crucial state of Tripura will help the Left-Congress alliance in the assembly elections”. In fact, the Congress and Left leaders were apparently under the impression that the united opposition could seal the fate of the BJP like it did in Bihar and Jharkhand. The BJP had lost polls in Bihar in 2015 where RJD and JDU joined hands. The saffron party also lost in Jharkhand in 2019 where the Congress and JMM contested in an alliance. That’s exactly what happened in West Bengal in 2022 where TMC was helped by the Congress, and the result was that the BJP was defeated there. But in Tripura, the opposite happened. The BJP succeeded in defeating the “united opposition” and retained power there. Needless to say, the poll result of Tripura is a major setback to the opposition parties which are trying to put up a united front against the BJP during the Lok Sabha elections next year.
The poll results of the north east states favouring the BJP will be crucial for the saffron party in terms of elections in major states like Karnataka, MP, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan and Telangana. The performance of the BJP will definitely play a crucial role in energizing the cadres of the party in these states. Buoyed by the victory in Tripura and Nagaland, the BJP leaders will be seen working much harder to retain power in MP and Karnataka, and wrest power from Congress in Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan. The poll results from north east states would definitely be an encouraging stimulus for the BJP leaders. The enthusiasm among the cadres would be felt when the poll activities increase in the Hindi belt and southern states in next couple of months.
There is no doubt that the BJP is ready to use PM Modi’s popularity and charisma to counter any opposition’s strategy during the assembly polls. PM Modi’s message encouraging the workers and leaders after the Tripura results can be seen in the context of the future plans that the party is focused on. He has said in a tweet message, “I am proud of all Tripura BJP karyakartas for their spectacular efforts at the grassroots.” With the NDPP-BJP alliance set to retain power in Nagaland, PM Modi thanked people for giving the alliance another mandate to serve the state. “The double engine government will keep working for the state’s progress. I laud our party workers for their hard work which ensured this result,” said PM Modi. The message referring to ‘the double engine’ from the prime minister assumes significance in view of the upcoming polls of other states.