ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Congress Suffers in North-East

The Congress is the clear loser in the three states that went to the polls. 

The elections in the north-eastern states of Tripura, Meghalaya and Nagaland have thrown up few surprises. In Tripura, the Communist Party of India (Marxist)-led Left Front (LF) has retained power with an increased majority. With no single party gaining an absolute majority in Meghalaya and Nagaland, the two states have produced hung assemblies. Mixed the outcome appears to be, but there were presumptive winners and losers in the elections. The Congress Party must be considered the biggest loser though it did emerge as the single largest party in Meghalaya.

The comfortable victory (49 out of 60 seats) of the LF (minus the Forward Bloc this time) led by chief minister Manik Sarkar was achieved in an election that saw a record turnout (92 percent) and the Congress-Indigenous National Party of Tripura (INPT) alliance winning only 11 seats. The victory of the LF could be attributed to the superior mobilising abilities of the ruling coalition, which pitched socio-economic development and its handling of militancy in the state as the major election issues. The INPT, led by former insurgent Bijoy Hrangkhawl, was able to win only one seat, signalling a disaffection with the former militants among the tribal populace of the state, even as many Congress leaders bit the dust at the hustings. Questions were raised about the possibility of an upset, because of the withdrawal of the Forward Bloc – which is a constituent partner of the front in the panchayats and in the autonomous council – from the LF for this election. The party, however, lost heavily in all of the 12 constituencies where its candidates contested on their own.

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