Several BJP and RSS leaders today met at the residence of Home Minister Rajnath Singh here to hold deliberations on the upcoming assembly polls in three northeastern states — Tripura, Meghalaya and Nagaland. Besides Singh, Krishna Gopal, a senior RSS functionary, and BJP general secretary Ram Madhav, who oversees his party’s affairs in the Northeast, were among the leaders present at the meeting. National Security Advisor Ajit Doval also attended the meeting. Though details of the deliberations were not immediately clear, sources said the political situation in the region was at the centre of the discussion. In Tripura, where the stakes are high for the BJP, the party is likely to ally with the Indigenous People’s Front of Tripura (IPFT), which represents a section of the state’s tribal population. The Union home minister had recently assured it of forming a high-powered committee to look into their demands aimed at protecting and promoting socio-economic and cultural interests of the state’s indigenous population. Though the IPFT has long sought a separate state for tribals, the BJP leadership has made it clear that it does not support the demand.
Following Singh’s assurance to the IPFT leadership, its president N C Debbarma had on Thursday announced a tie-up with the BJP for the polls. The BJP is yet to make an announcement. Debbarma had said his party would keep the separate state demand in abeyance for now as the central government had agreed to examine their problems and take corrective measures.
The BJP has emerged as the main challenger to the ruling Left Front in Tripura. In Meghalaya and Nagaland, two Christian-majority states, the BJP hopes to put up a good performance, especially in the former, where the Congress is in power. The Naga People’s Front, which is in power in Nagaland, is a BJP ally.