Voters in three north-eastern states have maintained the status quo. On Thursday, their verdict strengthened the Left Front's last post in Tripura, weakened the Congress in Nagaland and showed the door to Purno A Sangma in Meghalaya.
With the polls in the northeast being the
first in a series of assembly elections in nine states that would lead up to the 2014 general elections, the results hold particular significance for the Congress. And the verdict has been a mixed bag for the only national party with a uniform presence in the northeast.
While the Congress held on to its score of 10 seats in Tripura, it fell by the wayside in Nagaland, winning only eight -- 15 less than in 2008. Only in Meghalaya, despite falling shy of a simple majority, the party improved its tally.
Living up to its reputation of throwing up fractured verdicts, Meghalaya has given the Congress 29 seats - two short of a simple majority of 31 -- but four more than its 2008 tally of 25.
While raising chief minister Mukul M Sangma's equity, it also signals a possible end of former Lok Sabha speaker Purno A Sangma's political career.
In Tripura, the last Red bastion, the CPM-led Front improved upon its 2008 performance by one seat to win 50 berths in the 60-member assembly. This has enabled it to form the fifth government on the trot -- the fourth under chief minister Manik Sarkar.
The biggest gainer of this election has been the Naga People's Front (NPF) which bettered its 2008 mark of 26 by 11 seats.
The verdict established chief minister Neiphiu Rio's administrative acumen and allowed the party to form a government on its own for the first time after leading two NDA-backed coalitions.