The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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After Gujarat, BJP eyes Northeast

Dec. 18: Buoyed by the electoral sweep in Gujarat, the BJP today unveiled an ambitious strategy for three poll-bound northeastern states.

To begin with, the party has decided to contest all Assembly seats in Nagaland and Tripura and half of those in Meghalaya. Polls are due in these three states early next year.

Bigwigs like Sushma Swaraj, Pramod Mahajan and Uma Bharti will publicise the BJP’s agenda, including a campaign against infiltration from Bangladesh and the increase in ISI activity.

The president of the BJP’s Tripura unit, Ranajay Deb, said in Agartala that his party would contest all 60 seats in alliance with five parties, including the Shiv Sena.

He claimed that the Janata Dal (United), Amra Bangali, Gana Mancha and the Nagarik Mancha had pledged their support to the BJP.

“The Trinamul Congress, too, has expressed its willingness to forge an electoral alliance with us, but it will take a while for us to find a seat-adjustment formula,” Deb said.

The BJP leader said the Tripura unit of the party had come a long way in the past few years and had the strength to give the Left Front and the Congress a run for their votes in the Assembly elections next year. “We have requested our central leadership to ask the crowd-pullers — Pramod Mahajan, Sushma Swaraj and Uma Bharti — to campaign for the party in Tripura,” Deb said.

Accusing the ruling Left Front of worsening the situation in Tripura, he said insurgency was thriving in the state because of the government’s divisive policies. Deb held the Manik Sarkar government responsible for infiltration from across the border, saying it was being encouraged to gain votes.

In Nagaland, the BJP is planning to forge alliances with regional parties.

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