The Bharatiya Janata Party on Tuesday assured its allies in the North East that it will not interfere with the food habits of the region, NDTV reported. The party’s move is said to have been made during a conclave of the six-party North East Democratic Alliance or Neda, which was attended by the chief ministers of five states – Assam, Manipur, Arunachal Pradesh, Sikkim and Nagaland.

In June 2017, the Meghalaya Assembly had passed a resolution against the Centre’s notification imposing restrictions on selling cattle at animal markets for slaughter. Two Meghalaya BJP leaders had also quit the party over the notification.

Senior BJP leader Himanta Biswa Sarma on Tuesday told North Eastern leaders that every state was at the liberty to bring in their own laws according to the local customs, the report said.

Shah on Tuesday said he was confident that the party, along with its alliances in the North East, will rule all eight states in the region, PTI reported. “The BJP-led Neda is in power in five states but I am confident that in the coming days, the alliance will be in power in all the eight states in the North-Eastern region,” he said at the meeting.

The Neda alliance, led by the BJP, consists of the Naga People’s Front, the Sikkim Democratic Front, the Asom Gana Parishad, the Bodoland People’s Front and the People’s Party of Arunachal. The BJP is currently in power in Assam, Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh, and its allies rule Nagaland and Sikkim. Tripura, a non-Neda state, will have its Assembly polls later in 2017, while Mizoram and Meghalaya, currently ruled by the Congress, will vote early in 2018.

Shah said Neda was not only a political platform, but “a platform to culturally unite all eight north-eastern states and increase their involvement in national affairs”. The BJP chief further claimed that in the last three years, the Narendra Modi government had contributed more to the development in the North East region than the Congress had in the last 65 years.