BJP’s ‘Mr Dependable’ Delivers Again: Himanta’s Hand behind Party’s Northeast Success

He is known as the Bharatiya Janata Party’s “Mr Dependable” in the Northeast. Some also call him “Chanakya of the East”. For the last two years, North East Democratic Alliance (NEDA) chief Himanta Biswa Sharma worked hard in Tripura, Meghalaya, and Nagaland to expand his party’s influence. Elections in these three states of the Northeast were a prestige battle for the saffron party and Biswa Sarma himself. He was a key strategist behind the formation of the previous coalition governments in Meghalaya and Nagaland.

These three states were also his responsibility this time, say BJP sources.

“For the last two months, almost 20 meetings in 3 states each…that was his routine,” said a senior BJP leader. “After that, he used to sit for strategy meetings which would continue till 2am.”

Tribal votes were a big factor and Biswa Sarma himself reached out to Tipra Motha in Tripura, said sources. When the alliance did not materialise, he was the one who kept the BJP’s alliance with the Indigenous Peoples Front of Tripura (IPFT) alive.

The characters of Tripura, Meghalaya, and Nagaland are quite different. For instance, there was a Christian vote factor in Meghalaya and Nagaland. And Biswa Sarma ensured that was part of the BJP’s strategy for the polls, said party insiders.

The Assam chief minister has good relations with most other parties in the Northeast, particularly National People’s Party (NPP), Nationalist Democratic Progressive Party (NDPP), Tipra Motha, etc.

Sources say Conrad Sangma met Himanta Biswa Sarma on Wednesday, the day before the poll results.

After the outcomes were clear, the Assam CM tweeted.