2019 Lok Sabha Polls : BJP prepares for a tough battle in North-East; targets 22 seats

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The BJP is agitated on the threat of not achieving the target of winning 22 out of 25 Lok Sabha seats in North East India, spread over eight states in the region. The disintegration in the numbers is a result of taking a ‘tough stand’ over the Citizenship Amendment Bill which escalated the aggression of the indigenous population in the North East in December 2018 and January 2019.

The bill has countered BJP with its allies contesting the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections on their own.

The North East Democratic Alliance (NEDA), an ally of BJP, is contesting against BJP in a few Lok Sabha seats. At least eight partners from NEDA have joined the agitation against BJP led NDA government for legitimately passing the Citizenship Amendment Bill.

On holding the discussion with various regional parties like Asom Gana Parishad (AGP), Bodoland People’s Front (BPF), Indigenous People’s Front of Tripura (IPFT), National People’s Party (NPP), Nationalist Democratic Progressive Party (NDPP) and the Sikkim Krantikari Morcha (SKM), BJP National general secretary Ram Madhav, expressed his grief over the BJP’s seemingly failure.

In Tripura, where there are two Lok Sabha seats, the IPFT, BJP ally in the state government has decided to fight against BJP, with the Left and Congress also in the fray.

The BJP was hoping to join hands with the SKM, that remains the main opposition party in Sikkim. However, SKM denied the alliance and walked out of the deal.

In Assam, BJP has dropped five of its seven sitting MPs, including veteran Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) functionary and Tezpur MP RP Sarmah, Union Minister Rajen Gohain from Nowgong constituency, veteran leader Bijoya Chakravarty from Guwahati, and Ramen Deka from Mangaldoi.

The NEDA is a political platform that was floated by BJP in 2016. In 2018, NEDA partner Mizoram National Front (MNF) decided not to forge an alliance with BJP in the Mizoram Assembly elections.

Following 2016, BJP led the government in four states out of the eight Northeastern states- Assam, Manipur, Arunachal Pradesh, Tripura. BJP is also a part of two governments in Nagaland and Meghalaya.

The citizenship Bill was passed on 8th January 2019. The bill seeks to provide Indian citizenship to Non-Muslims from Bangladesh, Pakistan, and Afghanistan. The bill was termed as “divisive” and “insidious” and that it goes against the constitution. There were several protests following the amendment.

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