NEW DELHI – India’s ruling right-wing Bharatiya Janata Party managed on Tuesday to form governments in three northeastern states of the country although it had a clear majority in only one state in recently held provincial elections.
The BJP, led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, managed to secure the support of 34 – out of the 59 lawmakers who were elected – in Meghalaya to form the government although it won just 2 seats as against the 21 won by the opposition Congress party.
“With just 2 seats, the BJP has usurped power in Meghalaya, through a proxy,” Rahul Gandhi, president of the Congress party, tweeted, adding that the BJP had similarly grabbed power in two other states – Manipur and Goa – last year.
Conrad Sangma – leader of the regional National People’s Party – was sworn-in on Tuesday as the new Chief Minister of Meghalaya, following intense negotiations that lasted two days, involving five parties and an independent candidate.
India’s election commission on Saturday also announced the results of two other regional elections, which were held on Feb. 18 in Tripura, and on Feb. 27 in Nagaland.
The BJP had secured a clear mandate in Tripura, where it won 43 out of 59 seats in the fray and defeated the Communist Party of India (Marxist) in its bastion, where it had ruled for 25 years.
In Nagaland, the BJP’s coalition with regional party NDPP won 29 seats, same as the opposition alliance led by NPF, but the BJP, with the support of an independent candidate and a local party JDU, reached the majority mark of 31 in a 60-member assembly.
The regional elections were significant for India’s central government, as they are set to boost the BJP’s numbers in the Rajya Sabha – the upper house of the parliament – where the government lacked a majority to carry out some of the reforms on its agenda.
“Time and again, election after election, the people of India are reposing their faith in the positive and development oriented agenda of the NDA (National Democratic Alliance),” tweeted Modi, whose party leads the center-right coalition.