Electorate of Upper Assam Making BJP Nervous
GUWAHATI: Is the electorate of upper Assam - the epicentre of anti-CAA protests - making the ruling BJP nervous about its prospects in the upcoming polls?
As the election campaign heats up in the state, the top guns of BJP have sounded the poll bugle from the restive region of the state.
BJP’s top campaigner and strategist Himanta Biswa Sarma is virtually living his life out of a motorbike for the last few days to gauge the pulse of the electorate whi
ch overwhelmingly voted for the saffron party in 2016.
Starting from Nazira in Sivasagar - the bastion of the Ahom kingdom to Jorhat - the tea capital of India, Sarma’s journey on two-wheelers through the zig-zagging streets of the town in upper Assam nearly four months ahead of the polls appears to be a pre-emptive move to reach out to the voters.
“Clearly, upper Assam will be under major focus of the party during election campaign; CAA protests have taken some people away from us… but we will get them back to our fold through sustained campaigning,” a BJP leader said.
The emergence of All Assam Students’ Union (AASU)-backed Assam Jatiya Parishad (AJP) and jailed activist Akhil Gogoi’s new party, seems to have put the saffron party on the election mode.
Out of the 34 seats, BJP won 18 seats in Upper Assam in 2016 but it was mostly concentrated in tea belts. BJP pressing the accelerator early is nothing but the saffron camp's renewed attempt to win the sympathy of the various ethnic groups which took to the streets protesting against the controversial Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) last December on the ground that it violates the 1985 Assam Accord of detection and expulsion of illegal immigrants on the basis of March 24, 1971 cut-off date.
Though the protests against CAA have ebbed, the issue proved to be a major embarrassment for BJP which came to power on the slogan of protecting “Jati, Mati Bheti”.
The party knows it too well that unless it touches upon the vexed issue of illegal immigration, it cannot douse the post-CAA public anger directed against it.
This assumes more importance for the party following the emergence of the new regional political outfits that had their origins in the anti-CAA protests.
Upper Assam, which is home to a number of ethnic communities such as Tai Ahom, Moran, Matak, Sonowal-Kachari among others, was the epicentre of the anti-CAA agitation that rocked the state last December. The protests hit the saffron party where it hurt most – its support base in 2016.
In the 2016 assembly polls, when the party registered a historic victory, it had bagged 15 out of 22 seats in the key upper Assam districts of Tinsukia, Dibrugarh, Sivasagar, Charaideo, Jorhat, Golaghat and Majuli.
- Assam Polls
- Assam Elections
- Bharatiya Janata Party
- Upper Assam
- Assam News
- G Plus
- Guwahati Plus
- G Plus News