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May 08, 2011

Page: 32/36

Home > 2011 Issues > May 08, 2011

Assam: After polling both BJP, AGP confident
BJP hopes to play crucial role in forming government.

From Jyoti Lal Chowdhury in Silchar

SILCHAR: Two phase elections in Assam are over. May 13 will decide who wins the race for Dispur. Assam too set a record of sort by registering the highest voter turn out of 76.03 per cent, an indication of people’ faith and conviction in exercising their franchise to elect their representatives. It is also an indication of the massive security arrangement by the Election Commission to ensure peaceful poll notwithstanding certain jarring notes here and there. Besides, it was a mandate against separatism and divisiveness.

State BJP chief Ranjit Dutta described it as people’s eagerness towards having an alternative government in the State. He foresaw a non Congress government in the capital of Assam after a decade, brushing aside Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi’s claim of a hat-trick.

Dutta is confident that BJP would win at least 25 to 30 seats, upping its tally of 10 of 2006 elections. It is being alleged that the Development funds from the Centre for the implementation of schemes and projects have been grossly misused, misappropriated and siphoned off. BJP’s charge-sheet against the government, besides highlighting the infamous multicrore scam in North Cachar Hills, now called Dima Hasao district, focuses on colossus swindling of funds meant for development.

The BJP State leadership did well to bring in almost all the top leaders from high command. Nitin Gadkari, Sushma Swaraj, Arun Jaitley, Narendra Modi, Varun Gandhi, Arjun Munda, Shahnawaj Hussain, Abdus Naqvi to Smriti Irani, Hema Malini among others came in order to take the battle on the Congress turf and outwit and demolish Congress stalwarts, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi, Pranab Mukherjee and their claims of good governance and development by exposing UPA government’s monumental tales of ‘epical scams’ related to CWG, Adarsh Society, CVC, 2 G Spectrum, and vote on cash, etc, Nitin Gadkari was most critical and lambasted Manmohan Singh led UPA for unleashing ‘loot raj’ in the country. “It is the most corrupt government that manufactures one scam a day”, he pointed out. BJP leaders came down heavily on Sangh Parivar-baiter AICC general secretary Digvijay Singh, for playing rabid ‘communal card’ at election rallies by branding Bengali Hindu refugees taking shelter in Assam from Bangladesh, erstwhile East Pakistan, as infiltrators who needed to be pushed back, he said. This even provoked AIUDF general secretary Ataur Rahman Majhar-bhuiya to denounce Singh to say how Muslims in Assam were subjected to discrimination under Congress government of Tarun Gogoi in the matter of employment. In fact, it was his utter ignorance about Assam and the problem of refugees that came in for haranguing, he said. It created such a furore that Congress candidates panicked at their prospect at the hustings and Tarun Gogoi had to clarify ‘refugees need humanitarian consideration’.

The emergence of AIUDF and its acceptance in minority dominant areas has sent ripples in Congress as it is expected to cut into its traditional Muslim votes. The trends and swings indicate AIUDF is likely to double its tally of 10 bagged in 2006 elections. Prafulla Kumar Mahanta, former chief minister, and AGP president Chandra Mohan Patowary exuded confidence that his party would emerge as the single largest party with 53 seats alone in the 126 member Legislative Assembly. It is to be put on record that in 2006 Congress, short of majority, rode to power with support from Bodo People’s Progressing Front led by Mohilary Hagrama which had in its kitty 12 seats. Ranjit Dutta had a word of caution about the subtle move of Congress to get support of AIUDF in the event of its predicament to form the government. He said with the known stand of the Front on the issue of influx of Bangladeshi infiltrators, any alliance of Congress with it would push the problem on the back-burner. It was Congress, he reminded, which was behind the framing of Illegal Migrants (Determination by Tribunal) Act of 1983 which by its well-designed clauses made detection and deportation of infiltrators difficult. He foresaw dovetailing of a situation in the State where the very identity and culture of indigenous people would be at stake. The Supreme Court after hearing a writ petition struck down the IM(DT) Act.

BJP was the only party which made infiltration one of the main poll planks during campaign to assure the people of the State that if elected to power, it would ensure passage of a legislation to make Assam free of infiltrators. The power hungry Congress which could align with Muslim League in Kerala would not bother to go with Badaruddin Ajmal’s AIUDF. BJP, as Ranjit Dutta asserted, would not compromise with the issues it has been fighting for. His party would keep options open to have alliance with AGP as well as BPPF and he was confident of a non Congress government at the citadel of power.

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