Sunday, July 21, 2024

BJP-NPP partnership on a tightrope after poll debacle


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SHILLONG, June 8: The alliance between the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and its partner, the National People’s Party (NPP), has hit turbulence in Meghalaya following the recent Lok Sabha elections. The NPP, a significant ally of the BJP, suffered a resounding defeat, losing both the Shillong and Tura seats. This outcome suggests a growing dissatisfaction among the state’s populace regarding the BJP-NPP partnership.
Despite the electoral setback, the NPP appears to be in no rush to reassess its alliance with the BJP. NPP leader and Meghalaya Democratic Alliance (MDA) spokesperson, Ampareen Lyngdoh, responded to questions about the potential for distancing from the BJP by acknowledging the political volatility but stressed the need for an independent evaluation. “We will evaluate through an independent survey to distance ourselves from a biased interpretation,” Lyngdoh stated.
While the NPP leadership remains supportive of its ties with the BJP and the National Democratic Alliance (NDA), there are increasing concerns at the grassroots level within the NPP about the viability of this partnership given the recent electoral mandate.
Similarly, BJP leaders in New Delhi have dismissed any speculation about dissolving the alliance. Cabinet Minister AL Hek, currently attending NDA meetings in the capital alongside BJP’s Rikman Momin, confirmed there were no directives from the central party leadership to end the coalition. “I met the Chief Minister yesterday and there was no discussion about reviewing any ties with us,” Hek said.
The alliance between the BJP and NPP was prominently displayed during the Lok Sabha election campaign, with both parties openly supporting each other. The opposition parties leveraged this connection, with the BJP even refraining from fielding a candidate in Meghalaya to ensure a smoother path for NPP candidate. However, this strategy faltered, particularly after Chief Minister Conrad Sangma’s call for votes for the NPP in the name of Prime Minister Narendra Modi backfired, perhaps fueling an anti-BJP and anti-NPP sentiment in the Garo Hills region.
As the BJP and NPP continue to navigate their partnership amid growing internal and external pressures, the future of their alliance remains uncertain in the face of electoral realities and public sentiment.
Wake-up call
The NPP, however, has acknowledged the MP polls defeat as a critical wake-up call. Despite efforts to distance themselves from the BJP, the party emphasised that their alliance was solely for development purposes.
“It is a wake-up call, and we accept what happened. We will come back strong. People have brushed NPP with BJP, but we only aligned with BJP for the sake of development,” stated cabinet minister and NPP leader, Rakkam A Sangma.
“This election, the churches were influenced by many fake videos of church demolitions from outside the country that went viral and swayed emotions. Additionally, the State BJP did not put up a candidate and supported the NPP, while many church leaders supported the Congress,” explained Sangma.
He suggested that voters may have chosen a new MP out of emotion but doubted this would significantly strengthen Congress.
“Even at the national level, they will be sitting in the opposition, so this will hardly make any difference,” he added.
Sangma highlighted the need for introspection and announced that Chief Minister Conrad Sangma, who is also the national president of the NPP, will soon call for a review in light of the NDA’s continued governance at the center.
Expressing optimism about the party’s future, he said, “Look at the vote share we got. Just 50,000 voters cross-voted in Garo Hills and Khasi Hills. We are still strong here, and NPP will definitely come back.”
Commenting on national politics, Sangma remarked, “The BJP has seen a decline this time because, for the last ten years, they have focused more on their ideologies than governance. They only talk about Hindutva.”


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