BJP demolishes Left citadel in Tripura, set to be in power in Nagaland

BJP supporters celebrating the party’s victory in Tripura Legislative Assembly election, in Agartala on Saturday. (UNI)
BJP supporters celebrating the party’s victory in Tripura Legislative Assembly election, in Agartala on Saturday. (UNI)

Riding the crest of a Modi wave, the BJP today demolished the communist citadel of Tripura, winning a two-third majority with ally IPFT and ending 25 years of uninterrupted rule of the CPI(M)-led Left Front.
The saffron party, which did not have even a single councillor in all of Tripura, had secured less than two per cent votes in the 2013 polls.
In Nagaland, though the BJP-NDPP alliance failed to secure a majority with the State throwing up a hung Assembly,  the party’s participation in the future Government looks certain.
The ruling NPF, which emerged as the single largest party, extended invitation to the BJP join the new dispensation, though the BJP-NDPP combine may be able to form a Government with help from smaller parties like NPP, JD(U) and an independent.
Meghalaya too gave a fractured verdict with the ruling Congress as the single largest party with 21 seats, nine short of a simple majority.
All three States have 60-member Assemblies but polling was held for 59 seats each due to various reasons.

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“It is a journey from no one to number won, from ‘shoonya to shikhar’ (zero to top),” a jubilant Prime Minister Narendra Modi said addressing BJP workers at the newly constructed party headquarters in the national capital referring to the giant leap of the party in the Northeast.
The BJP is already in power in Assam, Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh.
In a series of tweets on the outcome of Assembly polls, Modi said the victory of the BJP in Tripura was not ordinary.
“This journey from ‘Shunya’ to ‘Shikhar’ (zero to the top) has been made possible due to a solid development agenda and the strength of our organisation. I bow to every BJP karyakarta for working assiduously on the ground for years,” the Prime Minister said.
Modi also said that people are reposing faith in the positive and development oriented agenda of the NDA.
“People do not have the time or respect for negative, disruptive and disconnected politics of any kind,” he said.
About the resounding victory in Tripura, he said, “It is a win for democracy over brute force and intimidation. Today peace and non-violence have prevailed over fear. We will provide Tripura the good Government that the state deserves.”
Though the BJP secured a majority on its own in Tripura, winning 35 seats, Amit Shah told a press conference in the national capital that it will form Government with ally Indigenous People’s front of Tripura (IPFT), which won eight seats. The CPI(M)-led Left Front could manage just 16 seats.
While the unprecedented consolidation of Bengali and tribal votes was seen as the reason behind the BJP alliance’s triumph, the CPI(M) accused it of using “money and muscle power” to win the elections.
“The BJP used money and muscle power and managed to bring together all anti-Left forces,” CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury said.
Though the ruling Congress emerged as the single largest party in Meghalaya, it failed to secure a majority, winning 21 seats. The party could not open its account in Tripura and Nagaland.
The BJP could win just two seats in Christian-dominated Meghalaya, but its North-East Democratic alliance partner National People’s Party clinched 19. Together they equal the Congress’s tally.
Smaller parties that won 13 seats and three independents would play a decisive role in Government formation.
Senior Congress leader Kamal Nath, who was despatched to Shillong to explore ways of forming a Congress-led Government, said the party had the support of MLAs necessary to prove  majority on the floor of the Assembly.
“Congress being the single largest party should be invited by the Governor to form its Government. We will prove our majority any time the Governor asks,” he told TV channels in Shillong.
Nagaland also gave a fractured verdict with no party or pre-poll alliance having a majority. The BJP got an informal invitation from NPF leader and Chief Minister T R Zeliang to join the new Government. The NPF, is the single largest party in the House with 27 seats.
The BJP-NDPP combine has also won 27 seats and are leading in one each.
The NPP of Conrad Sangma, a North-East Democratic alliance partner of the BJP, has won two seats, and Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar’s JD(U) one. If the BJP-NDPP alliance wins the two seats where their candidates are leading, its tally would go up to 32, two more than the magic figure of 30.
The BJP had parted ways with the NPF just ahead of the polls and joined hands with the newly launched NDPP of three-time former Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio, also an old Naga People’s Front hand.
Zeliang, the NPF leader, said his party continued to be a part of the North-East Democratic alliance led by the BJP and hoped the saffron party will form the new Government with it.
“We have not parted with the alliance. I hope BJP will join our Government. I will welcome it if they join us. The BJP has two ministers in my cabinet,” he told NDTv.
Though there was no official word from the BJP on whether it would be a part of the NPF-led Government, Shah had told a press conference in New Delhi that the number of states under the saffron party’s belt has gone up to 21 from 19.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Narendra Modi today called the BJP’s impressive performance in Tripura Assembly polls people’s answer to “fear, lies and confusion” being spread against his Government, and targeted the Congress, saying it was never so diminished as a party as it is now.
In an address to party workers at the BJP’s newly constructed headquarters following the announcement of the polls results in Tripura, Nagaland and Meghalaya, Modi also took an apparent dig at Congress president Rahul Gandhi, saying some people grow in designation but shrink in stature.
In contrast, he said, BJP chief Amit Shah was marching ahead by leading the party to victories in many states.
The Prime Minister described Shah as the architect of the party’s victories.
In remarks laced with sarcasm, Modi said he had recently told Puducherry Chief Minister V Narayanasamy that the Congress leader was lucky as he would soon become a “specimen of a Congress Chief Minister” after the party loses Karnataka, which goes to polls in April-May.
“I told him you are a most lucky person in the Congress. I told him that after June you will be a specimen for the Congress to highlight what it used to be. That it also used to have Chief Ministers and was in power. You will be such a specimen that they will carry you on their shoulders and dance saying it also has a chief minister,” Modi said amid laughter.
Referring to Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, who heads the Congress Government in the state, he said neither he nor they (Congress) consider each other their own. “He is a ‘swatantra fauji’ (independent soldier),” Modi said of Singh.
The Prime Minister said the people of the northeast had a sense of alienation but his Government worked overtime to remove it.
Central Ministers have spent more nights in one of these states to deal with their problems in the last four years than they did all the years earlier, he said.
“Fear, lies and confusion were being spread,” he said, an apparent reference to the opposition’s criticism of his Government over a host of issues, and added now people have answered it through their votes.
When his Government takes some actions, it is dubbed as vendetta, he said, apparently referring to criminal cases against some opposition leaders and their kin in corruption and other matters. But it is in fact “mandetta” as the people have given the mandate to act, he said.
In ‘vastu shastra’, Modi said, it is believed that the northeast corner is the most important part of a land and with his party now in power in most of this region, these states are leading the country on the path to development.
The Prime Minister charted his party’s phenomenal rise in different parts of the country as from “no one to won”.
With the Left accusing the BJP of using money and muscle power in its bastion of Tripura, Modi said opposition parties often did not concede defeats in a sportsman’s spirit.
Amid a “disinformation” campaign, stories about the BJP’s and its Government’s good works had reached far corners, he claimed, and asked its leaders to work with a 360-degree approach for all-round development.
He also attributed the party’s performance to its organisational work and local leaders, who, he said, are not highlighted in the media as they are not known much.
Modi took a brief pause when there was a call for prayers from a nearby mosque, and also paid respect along with the audience to deceased party workers, allegedly victims of political violence, by keeping silence for a while.
He said BJP workers were victims of political violence in West Bengal, Kerala, Karnataka and now in Odisha too.
He was felicitated by senior party functionaries, including members of the BJP Parliamentary Board, headed by Shah.
The board also took stock of the party’s performance in three states.
Shah has said that the board will meet soon to take a call on chief ministership of Tripura. Its state chief Biplab Kumar Deb is being seen as a front-runner for the job.
The CPI(M) lost in the polls in Tripura , where it was in power for the last 25 years.
Buoyed by BJP’s maiden win in Tripura and  impressive performance in Nagaland and Meghalaya, party chief Amit Shah today said it is an endorsement of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s policies and a reflection of the future results in Karnataka and the next Lok Sabha elections.
Shah used today’s assembly elections verdict in the three northeastern states to present the BJP as being a truly pan-India party, noting that it is not restricted to the Hindi belt as claimed by its critics.
Targeting the Congress, he pointed out that the party did not win a single seat in Tripura and Nagaland, and  also hit out at the communist parties, saying “what the results have clearly showed is that the Left is not right for any part of the country.”
He cited the BJP’s successive victories in states to claim that popular verdict is the “thermometer” to find out a Government’s acceptance, and the masses have supported the Modi Government in different parts of the country.
Addressing a press conference, Shah underlined the significance of his party’s win in the tiny state of Tripura, where it was for the first time pitted against the Left in a direct fight, and set his sights on Odisha, West Bengal and Kerala- three big states which have been out of its reach so far- and poll-bound Karnataka where the Congress is in power.
“This is a win of the Prime Minister’s policies. People have put their stamp of approval on his politics of performance and development…. The results in the three states are a reflection of the future results of Karnataka polls and the next Lok Sabha elections,” he said.
Asked if he feels that the party has now entered its golden era, he suggested that such an assertion can be considered only after it rules these states as well.
While the party has got a majority on its own in Tripura and won over two-thirds of seats with its ally, it is in a position to form Government in Nagaland- where two biggest regional parties see it as an ally- and is hoping to cobble together an alliance in Meghalaya which has thrown up a hung assembly.
Shah dismissed the Left’s claim that the BJP had used money power in Tripura polls and said the opposition can no longer blame electronic voting machines due to use of voter-verified paper audit trail system.
He said the party will celebrate ‘Vijay Utsav’ (victory celebrations) across the country tomorrow.
Rejecting the charge of Congress, which was in power in Meghalaya, that the BJP will turn to horse-trading, Shah said the verdict there is against the Mukul Sangma Government. He took a swipe at the Congress wondering why it had sent its two central leaders to the State.
He also said the party in Tripura will share power with its ally, which represents the State’s tribal region, despite getting a majority on its own.
He called it a “historic” win and also paid tributes of to nine party workers, victims of alleged political killing.
To a question about Congress chief Rahul Gandhi’s visit to Italy ahead of declaration of results, he replied tongue-in-cheek about polls being held in that country as well, a dig at his mother Sonia Gandhi’s Italian origins.
“It is a day of joy for me and crores of BJP workers. The victory of the BJP is important in many ways,” he said.
He praised key Central and State party leaders involved in the campaign while making it clear that the verdict was an endorsement of Modi who, he said, had been making specials efforts to develop eastern, and especially northeastern region.
Shah noted that the BJP had got only 1.3 per cent votes in 2013 assembly polls in Tripura and lost its deposit in all but one seat. This time it received 43 per cent of votes while its ally got close to 8 per cent.
The party and it ally had won all 20 seats in the state reserved for tribals, he said, claiming that it showed people’s appreciation for the Central Government’s work for the poor, backwards, dalits and tribals.
After Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh, this is the third state where the party has got close to 50 per cent votes, he said.
The BJP is expecting victory in Karnataka and will now fight polls there with increased confidence to get a big win, he said. The southern state is likely to go to elections in April-May. (PTI)