'Immigrants' Label Turned North East Residents Against BJP in Delhi
They contributed their bit, Photo Credit: TNT Mag
NEW DELHI: “We had initially decided to vote for BJP. But after they called us ‘immigrants’, we were really hurt. As it is people from north-east are not treated fairly here. And if the ‘sarkar’ itself says such things, how can we blame the general public. We were startled to see what Prime Minister Narendra Modi thinks of us. So our obvious choice was Aam Aadmi Party”, said Somip Chakma while talking to The Citizen.
Chakma is from Mizoram. A student of Delhi University, he has been living in Delhi for over 10 years. Once a supporter of his BJP, his inclination changed to AAP (quite naturally) after the gaffe by the BJP in its Vision Document.
He is no exception. Delhi has quite a crucial vote share, if not substantial, of those people who belong to the north-east part of India. Predominantly students, these people did feel quite deeply when they were called “immigrants” and the clarification didn't douse the anger any bit.
“How can they say it was a mistake?”, said Awddawngawo Changma, a resident of Munirka. “Do they think we are fools? Don’t we know such documents are always checked before coming in the public domain?, he angrily added.
The bruised, resentful and enraged northeasterners exercised their voting right in Delhi and played a crucial role in categorically rejecting the BJP which led to its disastrous defeat.
It wasn’t just the “immigrant” blunder from BJPs end that hurt the people from North-east, there were more blemishes.
A series of attacks on the Churches in India’s capital added fuel to the fire. This has been particularly true for people hailing from the Christian-dominated states in the north-east like Meghalaya, Nagaland and Mizoram.
“ These Hindu extremists are destroying our Churches. BJP has been going on with the conversions of Muslims and Christians all over. Can you believe even in Delhi , churches are burnt. How could I vote for this party,” said Inchar Abung, adding “ I voted for AAP”.
Interestingly, the manifesto of Aam Aadmi Party had no mention of the N-E people or their security. Even then, these people seemed to be more afraid of the BJP ( which dedicated a whole separate section of their Vision Document to them).
Additionally, Kejriwal’s historical win or Modi’s ( or Bedi’s?) awful and shocking defeat in Delhi elections has to be credited with more reasons. It wasn’t merely the spread of communalism or the Hindutva ideology that the voters outrightly rejected but the saffron party clearly lacked any agenda of their own.
This was a matter of concern even for for eastern siblings.
“Although I didn’t vote but in case I would have, it would have been Kejriwal only. BJP had no strategy at all. Their leaders were only concerned with badmouthing Congress and AAP”, said a student belonging to Assam, Amlan Das who is presently studying in Delhi.
There were many others echoing similar viewpoints.
“ BJP was all about negativity this time. I thought of voting for it but after the rallies and speeches, I decided to go with Kejriwal. At least they were talking about issues and agendas.”, said Ilaana Sangma from Munirka.
Rhonal Femaa from Mizoram, staying in Delhi for a couple of years, also shared identical views. “During campaigning, while the Aam-Aadmi party talked about issues, BJP was only talking about AAP”, he said, adding “ We are Indians, not immigrants”.
The mandate, indeed scary, is out and the people from the north-east seemingly played their part in routing the juggernaut and rather, putting their hopes on the “aam-admi”. Will AAP be able to live up to so much of expectations and hope? Only time will tell.