Guwahati: The North-Eastern state proved to be the main comfort for the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Sunday as its alliance won a comfortable majority in the Assam Assembly Elections 2021. The fightback by Congress and its allies AIUDF, BPF and Left were underwhelming as they failed to even cross the margin of 50.
The BJP led the Mitrajot (Alliance of Friends) in Assam. It also has a coalition with the Asom Gana Parishad (AGP), the United People’s Party Liberal (UPPL) and the Gana Suraksha Party (GSP), which primarily signify the Bodo and Sarania communities respectively.
On the other side, the Congress-led Mahajot (Grand Alliance) formed one side of the Opposition that consisted of the Muslim-backed, the Bodoland People’s Front (BPF), All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF) and other players such as, Communist Party of India (Marxist), CPI (Marxist-Leninist) and Anchalik Gana Morcha (AGM). On the other edge, there were two newly constructed regional parties — the Assam Jatiya Parishad (AJP) and the Raijor Dal (RD).
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) will soon form the government in Assam for the second consecutive term after a definite win in the north-eastern state. The BJP-alliance managed a victory on 75 seats, while the opposition termed as 'Grand Alliance' comprising the Congress, AIUDF and eight other parties drew 50. In the NDA team, BJP won 50 seats, Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) 9 seats, the United People's Party Liberal (UPPL) 6. Also, the big-ticket candidate Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal defeated his rival and former Congress Minister Rajib Lochan Pegu (Congress) by 43,192 votes to retain his Majuli seat for the second straight term.
Here we take a look at some of the chief reasons why BJP clinched a win for the second consecutive term in Assam:
CAA FAILED TO HURT BJP
The BJP had faced violent protests in Assam in 2019, resulting in five deaths in police firing, after the central government passed the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) in Parliament. The BJP campaign in Assam prudently evaded playing up the CAA. BJP President JP Nadda while issuing a manifesto for the state had said “CAA has been passed by Parliament and it will be implemented in letter and spirit.” The Congress and the allies tried their best to keep the CAA issue buzzing, with the Congress promising a law to repeal the Act but the issue found little grip as the BJP avoided it during the campaign.
The Congress-led Mahajot’s alliance with the powerful Bodoland party, the BPF led by Hagrama Mohilary, a former ally of the saffron party, was supposed to have improved the alliance in the Bodoland Territorial Region (BTR). But in the results, the three BPF ministers from the BJP-led government, now with the Congress-AIUDF, all lost. The BJP, on the other hand, allied with the Bodoland party UPPL, which has in its popular student leaders who signed the recent Bodo Accord.
The BJP smartly contested four Assembly seats falling in the BTR while the remaining eight were reserved for the UPPL. The two parties were also in ‘friendly’ contests in three places. The UPPL’s rise served a blow to Mohilary’s influence, challenging his build as the face of Bodo politics for several years.
The BJP has gained from the execution of multiple welfare schemes aiming for development in the state. The BJP promised for the Orunodoi scheme which gives a monthly help of Rs 830 given to accounts of women members of marginalised families through a Direct Benefit Transfer process.
Chah Bagicha Dhan Puraskar Mela scheme in which lakhs of tea garden workers have received Rs 8,000 in their accounts since 2017-18, again through DBT. The government has announced around Rs 400 crore to all eligible members of the tea tribe community. The scheme proved to be an X-factor for BJP for a comfortable win.
CONGRESS FAILED TO CONQUER ASSAM
The Congress hoped to reclaim the backing of the powerful tea tribes, which could have been a game-changer. The party assured to increase daily wages of tea garden workers to Rs 365, with granting ST status to the tribe but workers failed to deliver the interest about the Congress or its assurances. Rather, like the previous Lok Sabha election, they chose the Lotus. Also, there was bitterness towards the top brass of the Congress-inclined Assam Chah Mazdoor Sangh (ACMS), the region’s biggest tea workers’ union.
The Congress’s alliance with the AIUDF had cemented the way for the Mahajot to sweep the majority of these seats but they failed here. An expected landslide in minority-dominated constituencies, assisted by some vital gains in Bodo regions along with few other odd wins, may have propelled the Mahajot close to the halfway mark but they didn’t manage.
After the win in Assam, BJP put out congratulatory messages on social media. Several senior leaders of the party posted a congratulatory message and thanked the people of Assam.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi took Twitter and wrote, “The people of Assam have again blessed the NDA’s development agenda and the pro-people track record of our Government in the state. I thank the people of Assam for the blessings. I appreciate the hard work of NDA Karyakartas and their untiring efforts in serving the people.”
BJP national President JP Nadda also took to twitter to laud the party's win in Assam.
According to reports, the BJP will form the government and the CM will also be from the saffron party itself.