Guwahati: Called as a close battle between the incumbent BJP-led alliance and the Mahajot, the Assam Assembly Elections were conducted in three phases- on March 27, April 1 and April 6. Sunday, the judgement day for Assam saw BJP ruling in the initial trends. The saffron party in 2016 had scripted history by winning the traditionally Congress-dominated state, after remaining on the border.
According to trends, the ruling BJP-led NDA was heading to retain power in Assam for the second time in a row as the alliance.
According to the Election Commission's initial trends of the results, the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party alone was leading in 51 seats while its ally Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) in ten seats and United People's Party Liberal (UPPL) is leading in seven seats. The opposition Congress had made initial leads in 21 seats while its partners Bodoland Peoples Front was leading in two seats and All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF) in nine seats. An independent candidate was also leading in one seat.
“As per the trends, it is clear that Bharatiya Janata Party will form the government in Assam,” Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal was quoted as saying by ANI.
CM Sarbananda Sonowal, Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma and AGP Chief and Minister Atul Bora were leading from Majuli, Jalukbari and Bokakhat seats respectively. While, Congress Legislative Party leader and his deputy Debabrata Saikia and Rakibul Hussain both were trailing from Nazira and Samaguri seats respectively.
The counting of votes for 126 Assembly seats in Assam for which polling was held in three phases started on Sunday in 34 districts amid tight security and all COVID-19 Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs). Assam Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Nitin Khade stated that counting of votes are being held in 50 Election Districts (34 administrative districts) and there are three tiers of security put in place in and around the counting centres and adjacent areas.” In all, 946 candidates including 74 female of different political parties including BJP and the Congress contested the elections.
BJP VS CONGRESS
Tested governance of CM Sarbananda Sonowal, RSS support, Hindutva and cultural polarisation, alliance partners like UPPL, AGP and social welfare schemes are the factors which will help BJP to retain its power in the North-Eastern state. However, factors such as stand on CAA, Assamese identity, presence of Muslim voters and alliance with AIUDF and BPF can help Congress to emerge a win in Assam. Exit polls predict BJP may keep the winning momentum, with PM Modi's popularity, Centre’s social welfare schemes, infrastructure investment are welcomed by the people of the state.
With the prime agenda of 'Doosri Baar, BJP sarkar', BJP's National President JP Nadda in March released the party's Assam manifesto placing forth '10 Sankalp For Axom' (10 commitments for Assam). On the other side, Congress party's Rahul Gandhi also launched the party's manifesto ahead of the Assam Election promising to defend the "idea of the state of Assam". It is largely based on five guarantees - Rs 365 daily wages to tea garden workers, Law against CAA, Rs 2,000 per month to housewives, 5 lakh government jobs and 200 units of free electricity to each household.
Almost all exit polls predicted that BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) is likely to retain power in Assam.
The saffron party is expected to win 72 of 126 seats. The Congress is likely to win 53 seats, says the poll of exit polls. According to the exit poll conducted by India Today-Axis My India NDA will win 75-85 seats while the Congress's grand-alliance is likely to win 40-50 seats, it adds. The Manorama News-VMR exit poll has also predicted the same numbers of seats for the ruling and opposition alliances. The P-MARQ exit poll predict that the grand alliance might win 56-64 seats. The BJP is likely to get 62-70 seats, it adds. The Republic TV-CNX exit poll too predicts an easy win for the BJP. As per the exit poll, the BJP and its allies are winning 74-84 seats, whereas the Congress-led alliance will win 40-50 seats.
· Sarbananda Sonowal
· Himanta Biswa Sarma
· Utpal Borah
· Ripun Bora
· Bhaskar Jyoti Baruah
· Hemanta Kalita
· Prodip Hazarika
· Angkuta Dutta
This year, BJP contested 92 seats, allotted 26 seats to Asom Gana Parishad and 8 seats to the United People’s Party Liberal. In a setback for the party, its ally BPF decided to join the Congress-led alliance which formed a grand alliance- 'Mahajot' with, AGM, BPF, AIUDF, CPI(M), RJD, API and JPP this year.