The election-winning machine that the BJP is, the party has now come to power in the Bodoland Council polls in an alliance with the United People’s Party Liberal (UPPL) and the Gana Suraksha Party (GSP). The INC-AIUDF alliances fared poorly in the elections as the BJP won the semi-finals in Assam ahead of the scheduled Assembly Elections in 2021. With this victory, the BJP is in pole position to retain Assam and is moving at breakneck speed to ensure a comfortable victory.
The Bodoland Territorial Council (BTC) elections were much-hyped with the BJP passing with flying colours. Contesting on 26 seats out of the 40 which went to polls, the BJP bagged 9 seats. It is important to note that in the last BTC elections, the BJP had secured only one seat.
It formed a pre-poll alliance with the UPPL which bagged 12 seats and the GSP which bagged a solitary seat to form a majority government with 21 seats. The BJP also had the option to forge a post-poll alliance with the Bodoland People’s Front (BPF) – its alliance partner in the state which emerged as the single largest party with 17 seats.
This was also the first time that new alliance partners – INC and AIUDF fought the elections together, however, were completely trounced. Contesting on all 40 seats, the alliance was able to secure only a single seat which was won by the Indian National Congress.
Former Assam Director General of Police Harekrishna Deka said, “BJP winning so many seats on its own means it has gained significant ground among the non-Bodo voters, mainly comprising settlers from outside Bodo homeland, albeit long settlers and Hindu immigrants from Bangladesh. This is a consolidation of Hindu ideology in a culturally heterogeneous area of the state and a new trend.”
While the people reposed their faith in the Sonowal administration, the Congress-AIUDF hopes of dethroning the BJP suffered a major setback.
The Congress has virtually pinned all its hopes on the alliance wherein reality, the alliance will be a non-starter in Upper Assam – a sentiment echoed by Assam Congress MLA Rupjyoti Kurmi who squarely placed the blame on Congress’ poor performance in the BTC polls on AIUDF.
“In Assam, we have 126 constituencies, of which minority voters have a greater presence in 36. The rest 90 seats have no minorities — they have Hindus and other ethnic communities. To win in these seats, we will have to contest alone,” said Kurmi.
The State BJP President Ranjeet Das has already claimed that the BJP will additional 7 seats in the 2021 polls due to the Congress’ decision to tie-up with the AIUDF. “We will get seven more seats. We will get Titabor, Golaghat, Mariani, Doomdooma, Nazira, Sivasagar, and Naoboicha. Earlier, we did not count these seats. Now, it will be additionally added to our tally. So we are happy,” said Das.
Unfortunately for the INC, the biggest proponent for the alliance with AIUDF, former Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi is no more and to face the prospect of Badruddin Ajmal dictating the terms of the alliance would surely be giving sleepless nights to the state Congress leaders.
BJP’s man for all seasons in the North East and State Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma is determined to ensure that the INC-AIUDF alliance doesn’t secure more than 30 seats out of the 126 going to polls.
Another important fact is that since the 2014 Lok Sabha Elections, the INC has failed to win a single election in Assam—losing all civic body and gram panchayat polls. The INC secured only 26 seats in the 2016 Assembly elections thereby matching its worst performance in the state.
Analysing the current political environment in Assam, it will not be far-fetched to say that the BJP will comfortably win Assam come 2021.