BJP tries to make up for hurting Assamese Sentiments; Announces Pacifying Sops
As the Assam assembly elections are slated for 2021, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) politicians have already started worrying about their respective vote banks especially after the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019 (CAA) was passed recently consequent to which the entire state witnessed protests.
The BJP government in Dispur is strategising various formulas; announcing sops to the cultural fraternity and indigenous people of Assam is one of their main strategies. The chief minister of the state, Sarbananda Sonowal, is seen playing the emotional card to woo the original denizens of the state, but various sections are terming the attempt as a “bribe” to woo the people.
Senior journalist and a prominent cultural activist of Assam, Manjit Mahanta, talking to G Plus said, “The BJP government is trying to bribe the people after hurting the Assamese sentiments and very soon they will learn a lesson.” He expressed that when the Assam government decided to provide one-time financial assistance of Rs 50,000 each to 2,000 artists and technicians of Assam, Mahanta said, “Famous Assamese singer Bipin Chaudang said that he will not take Rs 50,000 from the government but rather give Rs 1 lakh to the BJP for withdrawing CAA.” Mahanta said that similarly many other cultural sections of Assam are upset with the BJP government, and all these sops or “bribes” will not help the government in anyway.
While the All Assam Students’ Union (AASU) led the anti-CAA protest on Tuesday, Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal held a meeting with the representatives of 22 indigenous Sahitya Sabhas (literary bodies).
The Assam government has called for a one day special session of the state assembly on January 13. Although the official notification did not mention the reason for the session, it is expected that the government will announce various schemes for the SC and ST regarding the extension of their reservations in the Assembly and the Parliament.
The chief minister announced that the state government would provide Rs 10 crores to the corpus fund of Asom Sahitya Sabha, Rs 5 crores to Bodo Sahitya Sabha and Rs 3 crores each to the other indigenous Sahitya Sabhas as one-time grants. Accordingly, Asom Sahitya Sabha can derive an amount of Rs 80 lakhs annually as interest from the corpus fund, while the Bodo Sahitya Sabha would receive Rs 40 lakhs and other indigenous Sahitya Sabhas would get Rs 24 lakhs annually.
With a view to assuage the sentiments of those protesting against the Citizenship Amendment Act, chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal, on Wednesday, said that he is the son of the soil and has never done anything to let Assamese people down.
“Being a son of the soil, I will never allow any foreign immigrant to settle in my land,” said the chief minister.
Playing the cultural card, the chief minister announced that the state government would provide one-time financial grant of Rs 50,000 to one thousand new writers belonging to various communities of the state under “Bhasha Gaurav” scheme. The chief minister hopes that this scheme will inspire young writers to engage in literary works in different indigenous languages of the state.
Claiming that he is not the Jatiya Nayak, the title which was given to him by the All Assam Students’ Union (AASU), the chief minister said that the real Jatiya Nayaks were the Assam Agitation martyrs and he announced that a Swahid Bhawan will be built in memory of the martyrs.
But will all these sops help BJP in wooing the voters?
A source in the BJP, talking to G Plus under condition of anonymity said, “When landless people will get land, there will certainly be some love and respect for the government.”
The Assam government, on Thursday, decided to provide land pattas (deeds) to more than 40,000 landless indigenous people of the state on January 28.
This was decided at a review meeting of the Revenue and Disaster Management Department chaired by Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal.
The chief minister directed the department to take steps to distribute land pattas to other beneficiaries in later phases so that the state government's commitment to provide land pattas to 1 lakh landless indigenous people could be achieved, the official said.
It was also decided at the meeting that 160 temples, devalayas and sattras of the state would receive Rs 2 lakhs annually in addition to the regular annuity that they are provided with by the state government.
The meeting also decided that the Arundhati Gold Scheme would be ceremonially launched in the first week of March, in which beneficiaries of economically weaker sections would be given money for purchasing 10 grams of gold ornaments for registering marriages.
The BJP is organising a huge meeting at Khanapara on Saturday next where around 40,000 BJP workers will participate. BJP sources revealed that booth level members will participate in the meeting and the BJP leadership will try and motivate the members to be with the BJP and work for the 2021 assembly elections.
The BJP leadership has been seen taking out rallies in different parts of the state in support of CAA and the politicians sitting in Dispur are announcing sops after sops to appease the hurt Assamese people.