Greener Pasture

    12-May-2021
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By aligning with an Islamist party which wants to Islamise Assam, listless Congress has forfeited its moral authority. Out of the 29 Congress MLAs, 17 are Muslims
  
-Dibya Bordoloi, Guwahati
 
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Bharatiya Janata Party activists celebrate after getting the
majority in the Assam state Assembly elections at BJP head office in Guwahati
 
 
It may be still hard for the Congress leadership to believe, but the truth is that BJP-led NDA is back to power in Dispur for the second consecutive term with a clear majority. Breaking all the pro-Congress hypes before the May 2 result day, NDA comfortably won 75 out of 126 seats in Assam election 2021.
 
The Congress-led Grand Alliance managed to win only 50 seats and even its chief ministerial candidate lost the election to a lesser known BJP candidate. But the election result has added some new dimension in Assam politics. The election 2021 in Assam was purely a polarised one, the result reflected the same. Desperate Congress and their leadership teamed up with AIUDF and Left parties and formed the Mahajaut to ouster BJP from Dispur. It was a strategically planed move by the Congress leadership to woo the minority voters of the State.
 
In 2016, minority votes were divided between Congress and Badaruddin Ajmal-led AIUDF which helped the BJP to win a few minority-dominated seats. This equation forced the Congress-AIUDF leaders to come together before the 2021 election. But nobody in the Congress leadership were aware about the facts that this move would reduce the oldest party to merely a junior partner in the alliance. Congress teaming up with Badaruddin Ajmal did not go down well with the Assamese voters and plantation workers.
 
The Assamese voters out-rightly rejected Congress. The party won only four out of 42 indigenous Assamese and tea tribe-dominated upper and north Assam constituencies. Congress managed to win only 29 seats out of 87 they fought. Interestingly, out of 29 who won the election on Congress tickets 17 are Muslims. The Congress’ central leadership had plans to play the minority card in the Assam elections. The party had planned it much before Badaruddin Ajmal announced the Congress-AIUDF tie up. However, the State leadership was reluctant to accept the alliance.
 
The State Congress leaders feared that going with AIUDF would adversely affect the party’s prospects. But the Congress high command had some other ideas. Rahul Gandhi and team decided to bank on the Muslim voters and finally locked the alliance with Ajmal and Left parties. Assam has a sizable 34 per cent Muslim population and in nearly 40 constituencies, the minority decides who the winner is. The Congress leadership’s resolve to capture these constituencies found Badaruddin Ajmal as their trump card. This new friendship in Assam politics gave the ruling BJP a new chance to strengthen the party in Hindu-dominated constituencies. All star campaigners of the Saffron party including Prime Minister Narendra Modi Home Minister Amit Shah, Himanta Biswa Sarma targeted Badaruddin Ajmal and his alliance with Congress.
 
BJP managed to convince the people that Assam would get a Bangladesh origin chief minister if Congress-led grand alliance comes to power. Ignoring these aspects, Congress tried to make Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) as their main issue in upper and north Assam. Congress leaders, including Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Vadra, left no stone unturned whip up frenzy over CAA. But this didn't help the oldest party as voters had made up their minds.
 
Congress led by Chhattisgarh CM Prakash
 
Baghel tried to lure the tea community in the upper Assam. Rahul and Priyanka campaigned heavily amongst the tea community. Congress’ promise to increase the wages of tea labours were even not accepted by the community. The tribal voters of middle and upper Assam also couldn't accept the Congress-AIUDF alliance. Congress lost all the tribal-dominated seats. Congress alliance partner BPF in Bodo Territorial Region (BTR) managed to win four out of 12 seats. All three Cabinet ministers of BPF lost in their respective seats. On the other hand BJP's new ally in region UPPL won six seats. BJP for the first time won in two constituencies in BTR.
 
Though the Congress-AIUDF alliance was rejected by the indigenous people of Assam, Badaruddin Ajmal gained splendidly in minority-dominated seats.
 
AIUDF fought in 19 seats and won 16. All these were minority-dominated constituencies. Congress could win only four seats in Hindu-majority areas. In three reserved constituencies, Congress candidates won with the help of Muslim voters. Its lone Hindu MLA in Barak Valley too won with the blessings of minority voters. Interestingly, 33 out of 50 MLAs of Congress-led Grand Alliance are Muslims.