When the Congress achieved slight electoral success in northeast India, an abridged space was offered to NE Parliamentarians in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s new cabinet. Compared to the Modi 2.0 cabinet, where once five MPs representing Assam, Arunachal, Pradesh, Manipur, and Tripura were inducted into the Union ministry, this time it has been reduced to three representatives.

Former Union minister Sarbananda Sonowal retained his ministry (Union ports, shipping, and waterways), whereas another central minister, Kiren Rijiju, got parliamentary and minority affairs portfolios. New entry Pabitra Margherita, who is a Rajya Sabha member from Assam, received the deputy minister’s post in textiles and external affairs. The oldest political party made surprise wins in Manipur, Nagaland and Meghalaya even though it could not enhance the number of winners in Assam. The party also failed to attract the voters of Tripura, Mizoram, Sikkim as well as Arunachal Pradesh (where it had to be satisfied with only one seat in the assembly).

The Bharatiya Janata Party-led NDA suffered defeats in both Parliamentary constituencies of Manipur, one LS seat in Meghalaya and the lone seat of Nagaland. The non-BJP and non-Congress governments of Mizoram as well as Sikkim could convince their voters for the regional party candidates in the national polls. As predicted, the ruling Zoram People’s Movement (ZPM) nominee won the lone seat from Mizoram and Sikkim Krantikari Morcha (SKM) candidate had the last laugh in their single LS seat. The ruling SKM had also recorded outstanding performance in the Gangtok-based 32-member State assembly elections winning 31 seats.

The violence-hit Manipur electorates gave mandates to Congress candidates namely, Angomcha Bimol Akoijam from Inner Manipur LS seat and Kanngam S Arthur in the Outer Manipur constituency. The lone Nagaland LS seat was won by Congress nominee Supongmeren Jamir. In Meghalaya’s Tura seat the Congress candidate Saleng A Sangma won and Ricky Andrew J Syngkon (nominated by Voice of the People Party) emerged victorious in Shillong seat. ZPM nominee Richard Vanlalhmangaiha won the lone Mizoram LS seat and SKM candidate Indra Hang Subba tasted victory in the lone Sikkim LS seat.

In Arunachal Pradesh, both the LS seats were won by saffron candidates where the BJP also succeeded in retaining power in Itanagar with 46 seats in the 60-member legislative assembly for the third consecutive time. Rijiju won from the Arunachal West seat and sitting saffron MP Tapir Gao achieved success in Arunachal East constituency. As predicted, both LS seats in Tripura were won by the NDA candidates, where the ruling BJP fielded former State chief minister Biplab Kumar Deb in Tripura East seat and supported Tipra Motha nominee Kriti Singh Devbarma in the West Tripura seat.

In Assam, the Congress won three LS seats (as done in 2019 national elections), but the ruling party increased its tally to 11 with the support of two alliance partners. Legislator Phani Bhusan Choudhury (Asom Gana Parishad) won  Barpeta seat and Jayanta Basumtary (United People’s Party Liberal) emerged victorious in the Kokrajhar constituency. The BJP faced defeats in two LS seats, namely Nagaon (where Congress MP Pradyut Bordoloi won) and Jorhat (where another Congress MP Gaurav Gogoi was declared the winner after a tough electoral battle). The third Congress seat in Assam was won by legislator Rakibul Hussain from Dhubri LS seat.  In the Karimganj seat, BJP candidate Kripanath Malla and in Guwahati, Bijuli Kalita Medhi emerged victorious. Rajya Sabha member Sonowal won the Dibrugarh seat and Another RS member Kamakhya Prasad Tasa succeeded in Kaziranga seat. Similarly, in the Sonitpur seat (earlier named as Tezpur), BJP legislator Ranjit Dutta and in the Lakhimpur seat sitting saffron MP Pradan Barua were declared winners. Another sitting saffron LS member Dilip Saikia won the Darrang-Udalguri seat and the State Minister Parimal Suklabaidya succeeded in  Silchar and BJP nominee  Amarsing Tisso in  Diphu seat.

Nonetheless, the north-eastern electorates recorded impressive voters’ response (nearly 80%) in the national elections compared to the rest of India (less than 70% in average). Often termed as a land of separatists (where once the armed militants dictated the voters to avoid participating in the electoral process), electorates of the region joined in the exercise with pride and responsibilities.

All praises to them!