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As BJP rises in the Northeast, NCP fades away

The Trinamool Congress and NCP, which started their electoral innings in the Northeast almost at the same time, a struggling in the face of a surging BJP.

india Updated: Aug 21, 2017 17:54 IST
Rahul Karmakar
Rahul Karmakar
Hindustan Times, Guwahati
BJP,NCP,Northeast
The only MLA standing for NCP in the Northeast is Sanbor Shullai, also the party’s president in Meghalaya. (HT Photo)

The Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP’s) bid to make the eight north-eastern states Congress-free is threatening the existence of Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) after virtually wiping out the Trinamool Congress (TMC) in Tripura.

The TMC and NCP, formed within 18 months of each other almost two decades ago, started their electoral innings in the Northeast almost at the same time with a comparable strike rate.

The NCP held the edge primarily because of former Lok Sabha speaker Purno Agitok Sangma, who founded the party along with Sharad Pawar and Tariq Anwar.

The party’s graph went southward after Sangma quit in 2012 to contest the presidential polls against Pranab Mukherjee and acquired the National People’s Party (NPP), formerly a Manipur-based regional party that bagged three seats in its first assembly election in 2007.

Sangma’s departure showed on the party’s performance across the region. It did win four assembly seats in Nagaland and two in Meghalaya in 2013. Its four Nagaland leaders soon switched over to the BJP and Naga People’s Front, while one of the two leaders in Meghalaya – Marthon Sangma – joined the Congress.

The only MLA standing for NCP in the Northeast is Sanbor Shullai, also the party’s president in Meghalaya. With the assembly elections approaching, there are reports that the NCP in Meghalaya may merge with BJP.

“This is in the domain of speculations. We will let you know after our party meeting on August 22,” Shullai told HT from Meghalaya capital Shillong.

Nalin Kohli, in-charge of BJP in Meghalaya, declined to comment. But party leaders in the state said Shullai had met them and that other NCP leaders were keen on joining the BJP.

The churning within the NCP in Meghalaya follows the merger of the party’s Arunachal Pradesh unit with NPP earlier this month.

“None of the NCP leaders showed any interest in the affairs of the party unit in Arunachal or of the state. So we lost confidence in them and decided to join NPP, which has a better vision for the region,” Gicho Kabak, who was the NCP’s state president, said.

The NPP, a constituent of the National Democratic Alliance, has four ministers in Manipur’s BJP-led coalition government. One of them is deputy chief minister Yumnam Joykumar Singh.

First Published: Aug 21, 2017 17:50 IST