Guwahati: Elections in three north-eastern states will provide another test for the ruling Congress party as it seeks to boost its shaky morale ahead of national polls due next year.
While the states are small and lack political weight nationally, elections in Tripura, Meghalaya and Nagaland over the next few weeks will give the Congress another sign of whether its popularity is falling across the country. The Congress suffered defeats to rival Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh in December.
“The results of these smaller states will matter for the Congress,” said Mahesh Rangarajan, a political analyst and history professor at Delhi University. “These elections are crucial for the Congress to boost its declining popularity, ahead of a series of elections in bigger states.”
Tripura will go to polls on 23 February, Meghalaya on 3 March and Nagaland on 5 March. Results for all three states will be out on 8 March. A series of bigger states, including Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan, will hold elections later in the year, while the general election is due early 2009.