New Delhi: Ahead of results for the assembly elections to Meghalaya, Nagaland and Tripura, union minister Kiren Rijiju said he was confident that the BJP will expand its footprint in the Northeast.
- Union Minister Kiren Rijiju confident BJP will expand Northeast footprint
- BJP and allies will form governments in all three states: Kiren Rijiju
- Meghalaya, Tripura and Nagaland went to polls in February
Concurring with two exit polls that have predicted an end to the 25-year-old Left rule in Tripura, Mr Rijiju told NDTV, "We will wrest Tripura from the Left Front. Our internal assessment is that we will win at least 36 to 42 seats".
Voting for 59 of the 60 assembly seats in Tripura was held on February 18. Polling in Charilam constituency was put off after the death of the CPM candidate there. The BJP fought the elections in alliance with the Indigenous People's Front of Tripura (IPFT).
Mr Rijiju said the BJP would form the next government in Nagaland where elections were held against the backdrop of ongoing peace talks between the centre and NSCN(I-M), the framework agreement of which was signed in 2015.
"We need a govt that can facilitate the implementation of the Naga accord, when and if it is signed. It's very important that BJP remains a part and parcel of the next government (in Nagaland)," he said.
In Nagaland, the BJP contested 20 seats, leaving the remaining 40 seats to its ally Nationalist Democratic Progressive Party or NDPP that's headed by former chief minister Neiphiu Rio.
"NDPP-BJP will go beyond 30 seats. There are some smaller parties which has given some kind of support to us. I have already spoken to some of them. They will also come with us," Mr Rijiju said.
Claiming that the BJP will set a "new political landscape" in the Northeast, the junior home minister said the Congress will lose Meghalaya, one of the two north-eastern states where it is in power, down from the five it ruled when Prime Minister Narendra Modi came to power in 2014.
The BJP has contested 47 of the 60 seats this time but Mr Rijiju says "along with like-minded political parties, we will be able to cobble up a stable government in Meghalaya".