North-east election results

The final results of the Northeast state elections in Tripura, Meghalaya and Nagaland were announced over the weekend (Figure 1). They suggest a victory for the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led coalition in two of the three states (Tripura and Nagaland).

  • Tripura: The incumbent Communist Party of India (Marxist), or CPI (M), which has been in power for 25 years lost to the BJP-IPFP (Indigenous Peoples Front of Tripura) coalition. The BJP won 35 seats compared to none in 2013.
  • Meghalaya: Despite emerging as the single largest party, the Indian National Congress (INC) has been unable to stitch together a coalition, unlike the National People's Party (NPP). The NPP has partnered with, among others, the BJP, to claim a stake to form a government.
  • Nagaland: The incumbent Nagaland People's Front (NPF) lost to a BJP-NDPP (Nationalist Democratic Progressive Party) coalition. The BJP won 12 seats compared to one in 2013.

Prime Minister Modi's BJP has historically not held much ground in the Northeast, but these results suggest that this is starting to change as a focus on development and nifty coalition building saw it perform much better, says an analysis by Nomura Securities. As such, these election results will be a sentiment booster for the BJP.

According to Nomuara's analysis, the Northeast states are quite small - they account for just one seat each in the Rajya Sabha (Upper House) and, given the BJP's low initial seat tally in these states, the scope for upside was larger. They are also not necessarily representative of the overall public mood,  notes Nomura.

Upcoming and bigger state elections – in Karnataka in April - May 2018, and Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan in November - December 2018– will be more important as they will largely be two-way fights between the BJP and INC (Figure 2).