Not a national alternative yet
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Though the BJP is not expecting extraordinary results from the Assembly polls in Tripura, Meghalaya and Nagaland, it is also certain that the results will make no drastic difference to the national mood which it seeks to harness during the next general elections to its advantage. The party, however, forgets that these three states expose its limitations in terms of reach to claim itself a natural, national alternative to the Congress.
The BJP could not contest all the seats in these three 60-member state assemblies in 2008. Five years later, it has not yet managed to find candidates for all Assembly seats.
The BJP with very strong views on issues concerning these regions — insurgency, illegal immigrants from across Bangladesh, national mainstreaming — has obviously failed in its political mobilisation and as a result, not got enough credible contestants.
It is these diverse regions of the Indian body politic that expose the limitations of BJP's ideological moorings despite its good intentions which led it to establish a separate ministry for the Northeast during the NDA regime.
Its prism of uniform cultural nationalism that suspects the spread of Christianity in these regions as an outcome of fraudulent conversion undertaken by missionaries and its belief that beef is being popularised solely to promote cow slaughter does not get sympathetic audience in the region.
The Congress's penetration in each village across the country sustained the grand old party after Independence. Reaching each village will require the BJP to be representative of the uncompromising diversity of each of the villages. Its old ideological moorings that catapulted it to the position of prominent and dominant Opposition and even brought it to power at the Centre, appear insufficient. The aspirational dynamics of demographic bulge in the country, in this context, provides it an opportunity to penetrate each village with a credible economic argument conciliatory to national diversity.