In the run-up to the 2018 Assembly polls, people in the Jaintia Hills blamed the Congress for not doing enough to fight the ban and allow mining to resume in the state. As a pre-condition to restart mining in the state, the National Green Tribunal had asked the state government to submit a mining policy – something that it has still not been able to formulate, much to the chagrin of coal miners and traders.
The Bharatiya Janata Party, on the other hand, promised to help lift the ban if it is voted to power. The BJP’s promise had more than a few takers in the coal belt. While the BJP did not win any seats itself, resentment against the Congress seems to have translated into gains for the two regional parties, the National Democratic Party and the National People’s Party – who are widely considered to be leaning towards the saffron party.