The Manipur election results are yet to be compiled and post-poll alliances will not become the hot topic of discussion until tomorrow, but if the words of the Manipur Chief Minister are anything to go by, BJP and NPP are not likely to be mentioned in the same conversation.
Soon after collecting his winning certificate, the incumbent CM said the BJP would talk with ‘like-minded’ parties, minus the Conrad Sangma-led National People’s Party (NPP), for a post-poll alliance.
Biren Singh’s statement comes in line with the ever-deteriorating relationship between the NPP and the BJP, who were allies until a few months ago. From Meghalaya CM and NPP Chief Sangma saying that it was very challenging to work with the BJP to Deputy CM Joykumar Singh criticising the party, it was clear that the NPP was trying hard to mark its path and it made its stance clear when it decided to fight on 40 seats, which finally came down to 38.
In simple terms, the NPP made it clear that they were not going to play second fiddle to the BJP, and that they would take on the BJP head-on. This was also a strong statement by Sangma, who remains an ally of the BJP at the centre and in Meghalaya, of their dissent against the state BJP unit. Sangma had ruffled political feathers across the nation by bringing BJP and Congress MLAs together under the Meghalaya Democratic Alliance (MDA), much to the chagrin of both the parties’ state units.
Sangma knows that as Northeast India’s national-level party, NPP cannot sit comfortably in a cocoon in Meghalaya; and Manipur was its first substantial foray outside their comfort zone. That said, Manipur BJP, and in particular, N Biren Singh, were unlikely to forget this criticism, especially when NPP played along as the ally for five years.
The BJP, which has already won 15 seats and is leading on 14 at the time of filing this report, will also be buoyed by its ally, the Janata Dal-United performance. The party, at the time of filing this report, had won five seats and was leading on one. Should the BJP need allies, the JDU and the NPF (which was also an ally in the Biren Singh government) would only be happy to oblige. In short, Biren Singh and Manipur BJP look like they will be spoilt for choice, and in such circumstances, the NPP is not worth considering.
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