NEW DELHI: With Assembly elections scheduled in Tripura, Meghalaya and Nagaland early next year (March 2023), the BJP has ramped up its ‘Act East’ strategy, focusing all its energies on the region.
Though these three states send only five MPs to the Lok Sabha, the entire Northeast accounts for 24 seats in the House. The BJP holds 14 of these at present and would like to improve its performance as a bulwark against the losses it might suffer in the Hindi heartland.
This is why, during his tenure, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has prioritised the Northeast. Also, the Home Ministry under Amit Shah has made concerted efforts to reintegrate separatists into the mainstream. Now, with the elections approaching, the BJP is not leaving any stone unturned.
Several leaders of the BJP, including PM Modi, have kicked off election campaign in the Northeast. His participation in the North-Eastern Council (NEC) golden jubilee celebration in Shillong, after addressing a public meeting in Agartala, is particularly significant. What PM Modi said there had strong political message.
Referring to the eight states of the region as Asht Lakshmi, PM Modi said the Government would work on eight foundation pillars for its development – Peace, Power, Tourism, 5G connectivity, Culture, Natural farming, Sports and Potential. Northeast, he said, is the gateway to South-East Asia and can become a centre for development of the entire region. To realise the potential of the region, work is going on the projects like Indian-Myanmar-Thailand trilateral highway and Agartala-Akhaura rail project, he said.
The Prime Minister also highlighted that the Government has gone beyond the conversion of the ‘Look East’ policy to ‘Act East’, and now its policy is ‘Act Fast for Northeast’ and ‘Act First for Northeast.’
Highlighting the success of peace initiatives in the region, he said many peace agreements have been signed, inter-state boundary agreements have been done and there has been a marked reduction in instances of extremism. He also said that G20 meetings would be an apt opportunity to showcase the nature, culture and potential of the region.
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