It would be safe to say that the BJP has made significant inroads in the North East since it came to power in the centre in 2014. Its stated aim of making the area "Congress Mukt" or "Congress Free" has more or less panned out.
However, 2019 may not be a walk in the park for the NDA. Except for Assam and Nagaland, the BJP is not teaming up with other parties in the region. Even the NPP, which is the BJP's ally in Meghalaya, is contesting 14 of the 25 seats independently.
Himanta Biswa Sarma, the finance minister of Assam, was widely expected to get a ticket in this election. But he has been denied a chance at a seat in parliament and has been tasked with overseeing campaigning in the entire region.
The National Register of Citizens in Assam is by far the most controversial topic and a topic that will hold sway over others.
There has been widespread criticism of the register, and local leaders have been avoiding the topic in their campaigns. There are also allegations of a job scam in Assam. The opposition has alleged that BJP supporters were favoured when jobs were being handed out, and have asked for a detailed inquiry into this.
In West Bengal, all the polls suggest that Mamata Banerjee's TMC will continue to dominate the state. However, the BJP expects that it will gain ground, improving on the 2 seats it got in 2014. ABP-Nilsen's latest survey, for instance, has given them 8 seats this time around.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who held rallies at two places in West Bengal today, attacked Mamta Banerjee calling her the 'speed breaker' to Bengal's development.
In response, Mamata Banerjee hit back calling Narendra Modi "expiry babu" and repeated her challenge for a US Presidential-style televised debate.
To discuss this, Shereen Bhan spoke to Syed Zafar Islam, Spokesperson of BJP, Sukhendu Sekhar Ray, former MP-Rajya Sabha from TMC, Sunanda K Datta Ray, columnist at Business Standard
, Niloy Bhattacharjee, Associate Editor of News18 - Assam and North East and Amit Khurana of Dolat Capital.