BJP, despite its sheer presence in the region, has always showed solidarity with the North-Eastern states. The party launched its North East mission in November 2013.
BJP’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra is in Arunachal Pradesh to pitch for the upcoming general election. Trying to woo the yet unreached parts of the North-East by the BJP, Modi is leaving no stone unturned. The brutal murder of young Arunachal Pradesh student Nido Taniam in Delhi’s Lajpat Nagar area has provided the party with an opportunity to regain a connect with the region.
Being in Arunachal, Modi launched a scathing attack on Centre and said that the matter was of national shame and asked the Centre and the Delhi government to shun their blame game on the issue and ensure justice for Nido.
“It (the death of Nido Taniam in Delhi) is a shameful incident for the nation. I offer my prayers for the boy and his family…There is lack of governance there. There are cases of atrocities on women. I hope the Government of India and the government of Delhi come out of the blame game and works towards ensuring justice for the young boy and his family,” Modi said.
Hitting the right notes, Modi said such incidents further alienate the people of the northeastern states, which due to the “unfortunate policies” of the Congress have been neglected and have not developed in the last 60 years.
He even slammed prime minister Manmohan Singh for failing to ensure the development of the North East region despite representing it for the last 23 years in the Rajya Sabha.
“The Congress chief ministers invite the Prime Minister for laying foundation stone or cutting ribbons for projects but it ends there and nothing happens afterwards,” he said.
The BJP leader said the NDA Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee had taken the initiative of creating a separate ministry for the northeastern region and taken steps to develop it but the Congress governments in the state and the Centre “have been indulging in corruption only”.
He listed the issues of insurgency and the drug-trafficking as the ones impacting the north-eastern region and accused the Congress government in the state of failing in its efforts to control the menace. He said insurgency was also leading to “fake encounters” which is going to further spoil the situation.
Modi even extended his latest trademark of quick solutions towards the problems of various states and said that his party will work towards developing the potential of herbal industry, horticulture and agro-processing industries when it comes to power.
It should be noted that Modi owned the grave issue as soon as it happened and extended his sympathy towards the North-Eastern students who have been facing racial slur in their own country for quite some time.
“Why can’t students from North East get houses easily?” Modi had questioned at a rally in Meerut soon after Nido’s murder. “North East is part of our country and we should ensure best of facilities for them,” he had said.
BJP, despite its sheer presence in the region, has always showed solidarity with the North-Eastern states. When a similar incident had happened in 2011, where a Mizo student was beaten up in Delhi’s Sarojini Nagar area, Arun Jaitley had managed to gather at least 2,000 youths from the North East at a conference.
Delhi has a staggering number of 2.5 lakh North Eastern voters in its electoral roll and BJP understands their importance, as well as importance of 25 Lok Sabha seats in the North East including Sikkim. It became clear when the party launched its North East mission in November 2013.
Despite campaigning and picking up the issues of North East, it will be tough for BJP to gain any foothold at the region as the people of the region still look at it as a Hindi speaking Hindu agenda party. Back in 2011, when Jaitley had tried to show solidarity with the North-Eastern people, they were more bothered about party’s stand on AFSPA than his angst towards racial discrimination ongoing in the country.
Besides, the majority Hindu of Manipur are the Meiteis and they have their own dynamics which is not similar to the Hindus of the mainland. The other states that also remains unreachable such as Nagaland and Mizoram are Christian-dominated who preferably goes with the Congress. The only state where BJP has gained some foothold is Assam but it is highly polarised.
While Modi is working hard towards his 272+ dream, it will be interesting to see as to how much North-East yields.