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Certainities, Yet Uncertainty
- Results of Polls in Three North Eastern States
|by Ananya S Guha|
Three North Eastern states which went to the polls on February 23rd 2013 are now poised to form governments. While the CPI (M) had a landslide victory in Tripura, in fact getting an absolute majority, the other two states had single party majority winners that is the Congress in Meghalaya and the Naga People's Front in Nagaland. The Congress in Meghalaya won 29 seats, whereas the Naga People's Front in Nagaland got 38 seats with one more polling awaited in March. For the regional People's Front in Nagaland, they have missed the two thirds majority narrowly, and even if they win the by elections, they still fall short of absolute majority by one seat.
The scenario presented is interesting. In Meghalaya the regional parties still hold some sway, cutting into the absolute majority mandate for the Congress, and preventing them from achieving it. The regional parties in the state have shared ten seats among themselves. The two other national parties, the NCP and the NPP have shared four seats between them, and the rest are mainly Independents, many of them dissident Congress workers. So it remains to be seen how the INC strikes rapport with the other parties and individuals. As of now it is a hung legislature.
In Nagaland the regional party had an understanding with the BJP in the earlier elections, but this time the BJP has got only one seat. But things do not look too complex for them, as they have the option of even aligning with Independents or for that matter the INC. In Meghalaya the government formation in the last phase was with the UDP which has 6 seats now. But it remains to be seen if this will be revived, as the pre election campaigning by both parties did not give this signifier.
In Tripura the charismatic Manik Sarkar, known for his probity and personal austerity has come back to power with a whopping majority- 49 seats. This is a people's verdict and the CPI (M) has always been empathetic to the indigeneous tribal minority of the state. In fact Tripura's development in areas such as connectivity, IT , rapid urbanization, tribal empathy has been the highlights of the state's investment policy, as also the public private partnership that it advocates.Even if the CPI (M) has been unceremoniously ousted in West Bengal who says it is not thriving, and that too in one of India's North Eastern states not known for Marxist proclivities?
So we have a situation, where there are two national parties and one regional in these three states of this strategic yet vulnerable region of the country.But regional politics is still holding the fort to some extent. The INC has been wiped out in Nagaland, and in Meghalaya it is barely surviving. In Meghalaya the tendency has always been for the electorate to be swayed by individual charisma, rather than only party based politics. But regional parties still surface in some way or the other to put a spoke in the wheel of the INC.The BJP'S presence by and large in the North Eastern states is minimal.
All said and done, there is hardly any homogenity in the results of the hustings of these three states, showing once again that centralized and decentralized powers are in conflict, with neither being in total command, in tune with what is generally happening in the rest of the country.
In both Nagaland and Meghalaya the leading parties need a simple majority which is already there in Nagaland and in Meghalaya the INC needs just two more allies. However, to be on the safe side it is absolute majority which is the requirement which has eluded the winners in both Nagaland and Meghalaya. But today in the country the electoral process is so competitive and complex that absolute majority is a dream come true. Parties are content with a single or simple majority and then they fight it out in the assemblies as long as they can.
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