Even before the celebrations for the twin win in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh could end, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has set its eyes on the upcoming elections in the northeast.BJP president Amit Shah on Saturday appointed minister of state for home, Kiren Rijiju, who was the key planner to wrest power from the Congress in Arunachal Pradesh and Manipur, as the in-charge of Nagaland, and finance minister in Assam government and convenor of the North East Democratic Alliance (NEDA), Himanta Biswa Sarma, as the in-charge of Tripura.Elections in Nagaland, Tripura, and Meghalaya are due in February-March 2018. Of the eight northeastern states, the BJP already has five under its belt. It has its own government in Assam and Manipur, while in Nagaland, Arunachal Pradesh, and Sikkim, it is coalition partner with regional parties.Of the rest of the three states, Meghalaya and Mizoram are ruled by the Congress while in Tripura, Manik Sarkar-led CPM government is in power for the last 25 years. But the BJP, aided by its parental organisation RSS, is hoping to make a dent in the red bastion, where the Left holds a total sway with 51 out of 60 seats.Master strategists of the BJP in the northeast, Ram Madhav and Tripura in-charge Sunil Deodhar have already succeeded in getting the non-existent BJP a foothold in Tripura. After getting six MLAs of the Trinamool Congress under its banner, the BJP has cracked the Congress too by making its MLA, Ratan Lal Nath, defect and join.”With the Congress now left with only two MLAs, the BJP has emerged as the lone challenger to the Left. It is going to be a tough contest for the CPM,” Deodhar said.

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BJP poll prep: Nagaland with Kiren Rijiju, Tripura with Himanta