Prime Minister Narendra Modi will kickstart BJP’s poll campaign in the Northeast from Assam’s Silchar, its oldest bastion in the region, on Friday. He will also inaugurate a dozen projects in Manipur, and address a public rally.
The 25 Lok Sabha seats in the Northeastern region are key to the BJP’s political prospects in the upcoming parliamentary polls.
However, resentment may be building in Silchar. A majority of the people in this region — the hub of Assam’s Barak Valley — are Bengali-speaking people, and a number of Bengali Hindus who voted for the BJP in the last elections were left out of the National Register of Citizens draft.
Many of the people in the region had supported the BJP in the 2016 assembly election because of its unfulfilled promise to bring the Citizenship Amendment Bill. The legislation — which aims to change the definition of illegal migrants of certain communities — has been termed “anti-Assam” by many regional parties.
Meanwhile, workers of the Hindustan Paper Corporation plan to hold a demonstration at PM Modi’s rally to protest the BJP’s unfulfilled promise of reopening the Nagaon and Panchgram mills. Terrorist groups in Manipur have called for a boycott of PM Modi’s rally and organised a general strike as a mark of protest.
Despite Silchar being its stronghold, the BJP could not win a single Lok Sabha seat in Barak Valley, Dima Hasao and Karbi Anglong region in 2014.