Incumbent parties have stormed back to power in the three northeastern states of Tripura, Nagaland and Meghalaya. In assembly election results the Left Front not only retained its last bastion Tripura, winning 50 of 60 seats, but did one better than in 2008. This was the fifth straight victory for the CPM and a huge vote of confidence for its chief minister Manik Sarkar, at the helm now since 1998.
In Nagaland, the Naga People’s Front (NPF), which promised to solve the vexed insurgency issue dogging the state since 1959, snapped up 38 of the 60 seats that went to polls on February 23. The Nagas gave a clear verdict to Neiphiu Rio, who will be heading the coalition along with the JD(U) and BJP – that won 1 seat each - for the third successive time. The Congress won just eight seats here.
Meanwhile in Meghalaya, the Congress, led by the youthful Mukul Sangma, managed to bag 29 out of 60 seats even as speculations were rife that the party would ‘discard’ its regional allies and form the government with independents, a large bloc with 13 MLAs. It also marked the worst defeat for ex-Lok Sabha speaker PA Sangma. His National People’s Party won just two seats. In 2008, when PA Sangma was still with the NCP – he broke away after the presidential elections last year – he had won from 11 constituencies. This time his younger son Conrad, who was also leader of opposition in the Meghalaya assembly, lost though elder brother James came through in Dadengre. Just two short of a majority, the Congress will look to ensnare a few of the 13 independent candidates. The other large bloc, United Democratic Party, has eight seats.