As the BJP-helmed North East Democratic Alliance (NEDA) meets for the first time since it formed last month, the coalition will discuss taking its mission ‘Congress-free’ Northeast forward.
Together with its allies, BJP rules half of the eight states in the northeast, while the Congress holds to its dissidence-troubled governments in Manipur and Meghalaya. It also rules Mizoram while the Left Front is firmly entrenched in Tripura.
NEDA convenor Himanta Biswa Sarma, who is Assam’s minister for health and education, said the alliance aims to win most of the 25 Lok Sabha seats across the eight states in the region.
“Our common objective is to oust the Congress. We will be working together to help our allies where they are strong and strengthen our base in areas where we are strong,” Sarma said.
In Assam, the BJP formed government for the first time in alliance with the Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) and Bodoland People’s Front (BPF) after it won the assembly elections in May. Its allies, the People’s Party of Arunachal (PPA) and the Naga’s People Front (NPF) rule Arunachal Pradesh and Nagaland.
The Sikkim Democratic Front is also considered a friend of the alliance considering Sikkim chief minister, Pawan Kumar Chamling, had attended the inaugural NEDA meeting last month.
At Wednesday’s meeting, several important parties are expected, including three regional parties, viz., the National People’s Party and United Democratic Party of Meghalaya and the Mizo National Front of Mizoram.
Arunachal Pradesh chief minister Kalikho Pul of PPA and his Nagaland counterpart TR Zeliang of NPF have also been invited. Confirming the same, AGP president, Atul Bora said they would work towards an “initiative that would help the cause of regionalism”.
BJP president Amit Shah, who chaired the May 24 inaugural meeting , is expected to attend the alliance’s first convention in July.