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Tripura, Meghalaya, Nagaland polls: Leaders hold parleys for possible alliances

Senior leaders are meeting party functionaries and representatives of other parties to see possibilities of post-poll tie-ups in order to cobble up the numbers and form the next government ahead of the counting day on March 3.

Tripura Elections 2018 Updated: Mar 02, 2018 08:24 IST
Utpal Parashar/Priyanka Deb Barman/David Laitphlang
Utpal Parashar/Priyanka Deb Barman/David Laitphlang
Hindustan Times, Guwahati/Agartala/Shillong
Tripura,Meghalaya,Nagaland polls
After 25 years in power, CPM-ruled Tripura headed by CM Manik Sarkar (extreme left) is facing a tough fight from the BJP.(PTI File Photo)

Political parties in the three northeastern states that went to polls last month — Tripura, Meghalaya and Nagaland — are scrambling to strike possible alliances ahead of counting day on Saturday.

Senior leaders are meeting party functionaries and representatives of other parties to see possibilities of post-poll tie-ups in an effort to cobble up the numbers and form the next government. All the three states have 60-member assemblies each but elections were held in 59.

Parties and coalitions will need more than 30 MLAs to form the government.

“We reached out to voters as best as we could. Now let’s see what they have decided,” said Bijan Dhar, CPM’s state secretary for Tripura.

After 25 years in power, the CPM-ruled state is facing a tough fight from the BJP, which tied up with Indigenous Peoples Front of Tripura (IPFT).

Tripura BJP president Biplab Kumar Deb and his wife Niti Deb visited the Kamakhya temple in Guwahati after polling on Tuesday and sought blessings for a victory. “We are confident of forming the government this time. People want a change and we will bring it,” Deb said.

The Congress, a major force till a few years ago, is not expected to do well, but the party is hoping it will end with respectable numbers. “We collected feedback from candidates in the respective constituencies. We gave our best effort and now it’s left up to the voters,” said Tripura Congress spokesperson Harekrishna Bhowmik.

The exits polls predict a close fight in Meghalaya but the BJP is confident that it will be able to come to power with help from National People’s Party — which is expected to win around 20 seats — and other regional players and Independent legislators.

Senior BJP leader AL Hek predicted around eight seats for the saffron outfit, but was hopeful that since the party is in power in the Centre, it would act as a “strong magnetic force”.

NPP national president Conrad Sangma was also bullish about his party’s prospects.

“We as a party will emerge as the single largest. We’ve said that from Day One and we stick to that. We will do equally well in Khasi-Jaintia and Garo Hills,” Sangma said.

Chief minister Mukul Sangma, who looked more relaxed on Thursday, expressed confidence about forming the next government.

In Nagaland, the newly formed alliance of BJP and Nationalist Democratic Progressive Party is also confident of upsetting the plans of the Naga People’s Front (NPF) to come to power for the fourth time.

The saffron party is contesting in 20 seats, while its alliance partner will contest in the remaining.

“We expect to get more than 10 seats and form the next government with NDPP,” V Lhoungu, BJP’s Nagaland unit chief, said.

The NPF showed cautious optimism over becoming the single largest party but has kept its options open to tie-ups with NPP, JD (U) and Independents to cross the figure of 30.

First Published: Mar 01, 2018 23:19 IST