Hard nuts like the North East which once looked impregnable have fallen to the saffron blitzkrieg, and once again Party President Rahul Gandhi and his Congress have been beaten. One of the remaining citadels of the Communist party has also fallen magnificently. The bjp must have scripted a massive victory in the North East, but its splendid performance can be attributed to some factors.

A massive influx of Bangladeshis

The North East which was considered the soft underbelly of the country had bled by a steady flow of Bangladeshis to the extent that the population of indigenous and the Hindus have been reduced in many districts to the state of a minority.

Often these foreigners have been naturalized by successive governments in the lure for votes.

It was fertile ground for discontentment which was exploited to the fullest by the BJP and NDA. The saffron wave which started as a victory in Assam swept across the North-East and broke the established bastions of the Left and the Congress.

Charisma of Modi

Modi and his ministers made a beeline to the North East in the last three months.

Their visits were not limited only to small public meetings but solid groundwork. Numerous infrastructure projects were fast-tracked including new railway lines, gauge conversion of existing meter gauge lines, hydropower projects including a new 81 MW hydro project in Mizoram which has made the state self-sufficient and surplus in electricity.

The new focus on the North East was a continuation of the ‘Look East” policy which seeks to connect Burma, Thailand and the economic tigers of the South East Asian countries.

The RSS factor

The ideological mentor of BJP, the RSS, and its cadres did a lot of grass root work in the North East. The cadres of the RSS spread across the North East cultivating contacts with the youth of the region. Cadres also visited colleges and educational institutions and helped to spread the ideology of hard Hindutva.

The RSS also visited some campuses in the country and tried to connect with students from the North East. There were 48,000 first-time voters In tripura, 46,000 in meghalaya and 25,500 in Nagaland and this strategy helped the saffron party immensely.

Local issues and parties

Small regional parties have always dominated the North East scene, and this time BJP went into an understanding which helped it immensely.

However, it needs to be seen how the NDA can maintain its relationship with these regional parties. Already cracks are happening in the coalition in Meghalaya.

National People's Party chief Conrad Kongkal Sangma is likely to be sworn in as the CM even though the Hill State People's Democratic Party (HSPDP) is skeptical about joining hands with the BJP. The HSPDP which has a poll agreement with the NPP is also dead against the lone NPP Lok Sabha member Sangma being projected as the Chief Minister.

Modi still being seen as a hope

The Gujarat elections which saw a resurgence of Congress, the Nirav Modi affair and the rise of Congress President Rahul Gandhi may seem to have taken the sheen off the BJP just before the 2019 elections. However, there appears to be an invisible and robust undercurrent which was not seen by Congress and its allies, and they were predicting a BJP rout.

Nothing of the sort happened, and in a reversal of fortunes, it was the Congress which took the drubbing. The latest elections also saw a further push by the Saffron party and a diminishing Congress. It also saw falling fortunes of the Left front. The BJP will have to work and work fast to keep up with the enormous expectations of the people in the North East.