Thursday, Dec 01, 2022

BJP in Assam polls: When the advantage is also a disadvantage

The anti-incumbency of the 15-year-old Congress government, the wave for the BJP in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls in favour of Prime Minister Narendra Modi saw the party exude great confidence a few months ago.

AGP, Asom Ganga Parishad, BPF, Bodoland Peoples' Front, BJP, Congress, Narendra Modi, Assam elections, assam polls, assam elections 2016, assam news The older generation may remain loyal to the Congress and Gogoi but the youth still have hopes of Prime Minister Modi and his promises.

With two successful alliances in the bag – one with the AGP (Asom Ganga Parishad) and the other with the BPF (Bodoland Peoples’ Front) – the prospects of the BJP ought to be very bright in the Assam’s assembly elections. However, in reality, the party is still unsure of the state which it had thought would be a sure win for them. The anti-incumbency of the 15-year-old Congress government, the wave for the BJP in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls in favour of Prime Minister Narendra Modi saw the party exude great confidence a few months ago.

However, the advantages seem to come with a lot of disadvantages too. In the corridors of Parliament, party leaders familiar with the party affairs in Assam, have begun to avoid questions about the outcome in Assam.

[related-post]

Although an electoral alliance between the AGP and the BJP had been on cards for a long time, the final announcement came as a surprise, especially since many BJP leaders vehemently opposed it. The public display of dissidence has damaged the party.

Subscriber Only Stories
JK Cement’s SPSU Udaipur Launches ‘Golden Batch 2022’ In Collaboration Wi...Premium
Appendicitis in Children- A new lifestyle disorderPremium
Using evidence will create strong foundations for the future of education...Premium
Re-Defining The Tradition In Folk Art: An Art Educator’s PerspectivePremium

Also, hardcore traditional BJP leaders who have stuck to the party despite repeated electoral setbacks have not accepted the central leadership’s decision to declare Sarbananda Sonowal as its CM candidate (he was an AGP leader till 2011), the induction of Himanta Biswa Sarma and ticket distribution.

For many in the BJP, the AGP is still a party with no groundswell support that has survived on dissidents or the disenchanted from other parties. For them the AGP would have been dead as a party had the BJP did not given it a fresh lease of life by allowing it to contest 25 seats.

They say BJP general secretary in charge, Ram Madhav had relied on “wrong inputs” given from the state to take decisions on election strategy. The BJP is fighting in only 90 seats of the 126 seats in all – some of them ‘friendly contests’ with its partners.

The BJP’s confidence in the BPF’s ability to consolidate votes in the Bodoland Territorial Area Districts – Kokrajhar, Kajolgaon, Udalguri and Baksa districts – appears to be overestimated. Sixteen of the 126 assembly seats fall in these districts and the BPF had won 12 of the 16 seats in the last election. But a faction of the group is still aligned to the Congress.

Advertisement

The BJP, accused of making attempts to polarise the electorate on communal lines, is banking heavily on the consolidation of Hindu votes. However, while the BJP leaders’ remarks against the minorities keeps the Muslim votes together, the Hindu community is deeply divided on ethnic lines. BJP leaders admit that no single point or agenda can keep them together.

While the Congress has the disadvantage of a 79-year old at its helm, the BJP lacks the presence of a strong leadership in Assam. The Congress has prominent leaders from a number of communities – Tarun Gogoi (Ahom), Sushmita Dev and Gautam Roy (Bengali Hindus), Paban Singh Ghatowar (tea tribes), Rockybul Hussain (Muslim) etc, the BJP still depends on those who migrated from other parties.

Ironically, if the pre-poll alliances have divided the BJP, the Congress has become a unified unit just ahead of the election. However, the BJP still has the benefits of anti incumbency. The urban centres, which strongly backed BJP and Modi, support the party. The older generation may remain loyal to the Congress and Gogoi but the youth still have hopes of Prime Minister Modi and his promises.

First published on: 14-03-2016 at 04:42:42 pm
Next Story

Under-fire Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger hits out at critics

Latest Comment
Post Comment
Read Comments
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
close