Northeast: BJP is Bridging the Gap between Northeast and Rest of India
Asia News Agency
The BJP and its allies’ victory in Nagaland and Tripura reflects the changing dynamics of Indian politics, writes Aditi Narayani (assistant professor of sociology at Lakshmibai College, Delhi University). This has “transcended from ‘the language of appeasement’ to ‘the actionable intent of development’.”
Northeast had been historically marginalised and less celebrated for its contributions to India. The pedagogy of nationalism excluded Northeast from the national imagination itself.
BJP bridging gap between ‘mainland’ and the ‘Northeast region’
But the BJP, writes Narayani “with its inclusive policies woven around development and diversity, has been gradually bridging the gap that existed between the so-called ‘mainland’ and the ‘Northeast region’. Now, people in the region truly feel they are an integral part of India, its imagination, and the narratives of nationhood. Manifestation of these processes of inclusion and BJP’s developmental approach, which are evident in the election verdict, represent a politics of cultural and developmental synthesis beyond any single region.”
The BJP has “collaborated with the indigenous and local parties and representatives, thereby reducing the hostilities among different fractions – a co-operative centripetal force.”
In Tripura, the BJP won 32 seats. In Nagaland, it saw its vote share increase from 15.31 percent to 18.8 percent. Though the BJP previously ruled Meghalaya in alliance with the National People’s Party (NPP), this election they contested separately. The BJP won two important seats in the state.
A major area of BJP’s strength, writes Narayani lies in “cultural cohesiveness, which other political parties lack……Under the BJP-led union government, there have been initiatives that celebrate cultural diversity, especially in the capital city where space was carved out to celebrate the contribution of unsung heroes from the Northeast region and to represent their culture, identities, and historical struggle in the making of India. This expression and cultural policies further bridged the gap between the so-called mainland and the Northeastern people.”
For example, in the manifesto released by the BJP in Nagaland, a Cultural Research Fund with Rs 1,000 crore corpus will be created. Further, to preserve Naga identity and culture, a cultural university and other such policies were put forward in the election campaign.