For the big political battle in April this year, hectic preparation is going from all players, big or small.BJP has already made its initial moves by making Sarbandha Sonowal as the party chief in Assam and winning over Congress heavy weight Himanta Biswa Sarma.
Badruddin Ajmal’s All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF) and Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) are planning their strategies too for the upcoming election. Even the political barbs are getting sharper on a daily basis.
However senior spokesperson of Assam Congress committee Mehdi Alam Bora gave his remarks. According to him BJP is on U turn spree now.So Sonowal’s taking over as BJP chief state makes no difference to Congress. Moreover there is a big qualitative and quantitative difference between state and general assembly elections.
“We have strengthened our organization at the grassroots by reviving booth level committees and having a permanent observer in each constituency”, as per Mr Alam Bora.
Lok Sabha election in 2014, the BJP had won seven out of 14 seats, upping its tally from four in 2009. Jorhat, Lakhimpur and Dibrugarh, ruthlessly uprooting the Congress dominance of decades, the party had won the entire Upper Assam belt constituencies.
These three parliamentary constituencies add up to 28 assembly seats, general elections in 2009, going by its Lok Sabha tally; the party had only 34 assembly seats under its belt. The number is an impressive 66 this time around. From 61 in 2009 to 22 in 2014 congress felt drastically.
First time, Congress MP Sushmita Dev could clinch the Silchar parliamentary seat from the BJP, the AIUDF rubbed salt to its wound by snatching away Karimganj and Barpeta.
Congress could be in trouble as per numbers of the last Lok Sabha , but party leaders feel assembly election is a totally different game.
Even if the BJP decides to field candidates in all 126 seats, it is highly unlikely that it would end up with something like the Aam Aadmi Party did in Delhi, winning 67 out of 70 seats. The demographic pattern comes into play as the constituency size shrinks considerably when compared to parliamentary ones.
Areas covering four districts are Kokrajhar, Baksa, Udalguri and Chirang are the pockets of local influence like Hagrama Mohilary led Bodaland People’s Front in the Bodoland Territorial Council (BTC).
In the other five autonomous councils of the state, apart from BTC Karbi Anglong Autonomous Council, Dima Hasao Autonomous District Council, Mising Autonomous Council, Rabha Hasong Autonomous Council, Tiwa Autonomous Council, Deori Autonomous Council, Thengal Kachari Autonomous Council and Sonowal Kachari Autonomous Council, the inroads made by BJP, if any, is largely superficial.
After the NDA government took over at the Centre, BJP might get into trouble among the tea community voters as ‘subsidised rations’ have become an issue of conflict. There are the ‘char’ (river islands) areas where the Muslims form the majority apart from other belts where the Muslim population is burgeoning fast.
Assam witnessed a rapid rise in Muslim population between 2001 and 2011, according to the 2011 Census report, going up from 30.9 percent to 34.2 percent. This is way above the national average from 13.4 percent in 2001 to 14.2 percent in 2011.
“The proportion has increased by 28.8 percentage points in Darrang district, 14.88 points in Kamrup, 13.86 points in Nalbari, and 11.37 points in Barpeta. The rise in these districts, in fact, is higher than in districts bordering Bangladesh, where the Muslim population has been traditionally high. Among these border districts, Dhubri has seen a rise of 5.67 points and Karimganj of 4.08 points” said a report in The Indian Express.
The insecurity that has crept into some sections of the Muslims, the Congress must be counting its chances given the ‘intolerance’ debate that is going on for some time now.
The Prime Minister Modi’s failure to perform as promised is only adding to Congress’ ammunition against the BJP.
Congress MP from Assam’s Kaliabor constituency Gaurav Gogoi told Firstpost from Guwahati said that they are ready to fight the communal forces in the country.
They will fight BJP ,who had forgotten the development needs of the poor. we will take to the battlefield under Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi,the morale of the BJP workers are already low after the Bihar defeat.
“The lawmaker also said that all dissidence has come to rest after the defection of Himanta Biswa Sarma and his loyal MLAs to the BJP and the party has “become even stronger and united”.
he also added to this
Congress successfully wooed back many of the rebel MLAs from the Sarma camp who had earlier in an interaction with Firstpost in August this year said.
According to Sarma, he would present them (BJP) an a la carte menu of 52 MLAs. It is for them to decide whom they want to bring in. So far, only nine of them have joined the BJP,when asked about this minuscule figure last week Sarma said
AGP and Congress many more will join BJP later. The party is now trying to figure out who will who has the winnability factor and be an asset to them. Congress lost very badly in Lok Sabha polls.
“The state government is suffering from anti-incumbency and we will have to bring in people who are free of anti-incumbency. We cannot risk transferring of anti-incumbency from Congress to BJP.
Congress won a record 78 seats in 2011 while BJP managed only five although there was a talk of anti-incumbency after two tenures of Tarun Gogoi.