With its electoral victory in Tripura and formation of governments in Nagaland and Meghalaya in alliance with local parties, the BJP has put six out of eight states of North-East India in its kitty. Put together the BJP is now in power, either directly or through an alliance, in 21 out of India’s 29 states. Party president Amit Shah, recently said, “We have an MP in Ladhakh and Kerala. We have a government in Kohima and in Kutch”. Influence of the BJP, which was once confined to the so-called cow belt or Hindi-speaking states, is now, in Prof. Rajni Kothari’s words ‘a dominant party’ in every region of the country, barring the deep south and a portion of the east. Within a short span of less than four years, the saffron surge is prominently visible everywhere.
The Saffron Surge
Sources within the BJP rank the party’s recent victory in the North-East as its most significant electoral story since it won the 2014 Parliamentary elections. Some political observers opine that most of BJP’s electoral gains in the North-East region had started manifesting in 2016 when the party won Assam for the first time in 2016 and Manipur for the first time in 2017 and in Arunachal Pradesh where the BJP came to power in 2016 by engineering a large defection from the Congress. With regard to significance of the BJP’s electoral victory in the North-East, some experts give credence to party president Amit Shah&rsq