Number of BJP MLAs in the northeast have increased 15 times in last five years
The pace and scale of the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJPs) surge in the north-east over the last five years has been unprecedented.
Between 2013 and 2018, the number of BJP legislators in the eight states of the region increased fifteenfold — from nine in 2013 to 140 in 2018, an analysis of election data by the Hindustan Times shows.
The BJP’s count doubled to 17 members of the legislative assembly (MLAs) in 2014 from 2013. It then increased by around four times to 72 MLAs in 2016, and in 2018, it has doubled again to 140.
The rise of the BJP has come at the expense of both the Congress and regional parties. From 2013 to 2018, Congress’ tally decreased by 40%. It had 242 MLAs in 2013 and is now down to 151. Regional parties continue to send the most number of MLAs to local assemblies in the region — around 40%. But in the 2000s, their share was more than 50%.
Data Source: Jensenius, F.,Verniers, G. Indian State Assembly Election and Candidates Data (1962-Present)
The data needs one caveat: the MLA count is based on the most recent election results and doesn’t include changes caused by mid-way defections.
Expectedly, this has changed the political landscape of the region.
From not having a single MLA in five of the eight states in the region, the BJP now has five chief ministers and is part of a ruling alliance in one state. The reverse is true for the Congress: from five chief ministers, it is down to two.
Overall, the Congress is still ahead of the BJP in terms of the MLA count — but the gap (11 seats) is marginal.
The BJP’s surge came after the party rose to national power in 2014 under the leadership of Narendra Modi, who, along with party president Amit Shah, has spearheaded the effort to widen its political footprint. Ram Madhav was deputed to the region as the party’s overseer in the North-East.
To win in the region, BJP smartly co-opted regional leaders. Himanta Biswa Sarma in Assam and Manipur’s chief minister N Biren Singh both played a crucial role in fashioning the BJP’s victory in the two states.
On the national level, the BJP now has 1,368 MLAs. The last time the Congress had more MLAs was 25 years ago — 1,523 MLAs in 1993.