Comprising Assam, Meghalaya, Nagaland, Manipur, Tripura, Mizoram, Arunachal Pradesh and Sikkim, they together account for a healthy block of 25 Lok Sabha MPs between them. But despite a contiguous geographical area, the verdict that the people of the region have been passing for the past decade is rather fractured.
This year the picture may be only slightly different. The Congress which won as many as 10 of the 14 seats in Assam, may not get more than seven seats there. Two factors are being cited for the possible decline in the Congress fortunes: the emergence of the NCP and the perception among a section of the urban voters that the BJP is about to form the government at the Centre so it is better to vote for it rather than the Congress. P.A. Sangma’s drifting away has made the Congress task difficult across the region, and is going to bring down its tally in Assam. Elsewhere in the region, the Congress is still on a firm wicket and therefore its overall tally of 12 may remain intact. The BJP cannot hope to get more than two seats on its own whereas its potential allies, the Arunachal Congress and an All Bodo Students Union (absu)-backed MP from Kokrajhar, may deliver two more seats to the nda. The rest of the seats are likely to be shared by the Left (two in Tripura and possibly one in Manipur), regional parties like agp (maximum two) mnf (the lone seat in Mizoram), sdf (single seat in Sikkim) CPI-ml (Diphu seat in Assam) and one for the NCP (Sangma’s own Tura seat).