Third Party Possibilities

Saturday, 23 January 2021



Third Party Possibilities

Swapnil Bharali | January 18, 2020 16:44 hrs

Assam seems to be in the midst of political uncertainty at the moment. Miffed as it is with the current disposition that the janta had voted to power with an overwhelming mandate, Assamese nationalism is on a new upsurge with the feeling of having been betrayed by all and sundry – Congress and Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) included. 

Under these circumstances, the idea of a third formation is making the rounds albeit with a bit of confusion. While it has appeared in the media that the influential All Assam Students’ Union (AASU) is taking the lead in the formation of a new political party with the ideology of regionalism (which the AGP is perceived to have diluted with its stance on the Citizenship Amendment Act or CAA), news has also trickled in that the Assamese intelligentsia led by some of the most respected Assamese nationalists is clearly taking concrete steps towards the same. In this context, the role of Zubeen Garg - without a doubt probably the best known non-political face of Assam - will be intriguing at best. 

Given the fruition of this new party which will surely command the respect of the Assamese society, particularly, the section which firmly believes in regionalism, the political scenario of Assam may well change given the fact that the current feelings of Assamese nationalism or rather the feelings of “betrayal” by the “protectors” of jati, mati & bheti will remain at its peak so long the CAA is not repealed. The potential of this new party can be gauged from the no-holds-barred statement of former Congress chief minister, Tarun Gogoi, that the Congress party would extend support to it mainly to create a somewhat formidable alliance against the BJP in the next elections. Gogoi’s political acumen clearly indicates that an alliance would be mandatory for the new party to create any kind of impression on the “floating” Assamese vote bank which does not owe any allegiance to any of the existing political parties. And that, by itself, is quite a large bank capable of messing up the number game in the assembly. At the same time, the statement of Gogoi is also being perceived as Congress clutching at straws to cross the finishing line. But as I said, every existing political party is a “betrayer” for the Assamese nationalist and the new outfit will have its task cut out.

For the sake of another voting option, the new party will be good for Assam and should it get its moorings right, it will be a really interesting assembly election in 2021. Whether the AASU will be agreeable to play a supplementary role rather an active one remains to be seen. As for monetary strength to contest the elections against the mighty BJP, fund mobilization by itself is a challenging art!

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