Which party or alliance will have the last laugh in the ensuing Assam Assembly election 2021?
Will Congress be able to turn its huge vote share, earned in 2016 Assam Assembly election, to seats?
In the last Assembly elections in Assam, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) emerged as the largest party in the state with 60 seats while the Congress stood second with 26 seats, out of the total 126 Assembly seats.
Among the other political parties, All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF), led by Maulana Badruddin Ajmal, won 13 seats; Asom Gana Parishad (AGP), led by Atul Bora, won 14 seats; Bodoland People’s Party (BPF), led by Hagrama Mohilary got 12 seats and 1 Independent emerged victorious.
The BJP formed a coalition government with its pre-poll allies AGP and BPF after the election.
Congress fought the Assembly election in Assam under the leadership of Rahul Gandhi as the party chief in New Delhi, then state party chief Anjan Dutta and then chief minister Tarun Gogoi.
The BJP contested the election in Assam under its then national president Amit Shah, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, then state party president Sarbananda Sonowal and Himanta Biswa Sarma, who joined the party deserting Congress.
After analysis of the vote shares, it was observed that Congress, the second single largest party in Assam Assembly election 2016, earned a total vote share of 30.9% while BJP’s vote share was 29.9%.
Among the other political parties, AGP’s vote share was 8.1%, BPF managed a vote share of 3.9% and AIUDF’s vote share was 13.05%.
Despite its highest vote share earned in the Assam Assembly election, the Congress party failed to win the election and lost the poll battle to the saffron party.
After the loss in the election, the Congress, which ruled in Assam for three consecutive terms from 2001 to 2016 under the chief ministership of Tarun Gogoi, consoled itself that although it faced the defeat in election, it was able to secure the highest vote share.
It was observed that despite the Modi wave, anti-incumbency factor and allegation of corruption against the Congress government in Assam, the BJP failed to get huge margins in view of the vote share.
Many of the BJP candidates were able to win the election with low margin of votes against their rival Congress candidates.
This time, Congress is banking on the vote share that it had secured in the last Assembly election.
The election strategy of the Congress has already started to draw the attention of the people of Assam.
As part of their strategy, Congress has announced five guarantees to the people of Assam if it is voted to power.
The five guarantees include providing five lakh government jobs to the unemployed, bringing a law that nullifies the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, free electricity up to 200 units per household, Rs 2,000 as monthly income support to all the homemakers and increasing daily wage of tea garden workers to Rs 365.
The Congress has also formed a grand alliance in Assam where there are AIUDF, CPI, CPI(M), CPI(ML), Anchalik Gana Morcha and BPF.
The party hopes that the grand alliance will help prevent the division of votes as they would field common candidates in most of the seats.
To defeat the BJP, the grand alliance may not field any candidate against Raijor Dal president Akhil Gogoi and Asom Jatiya Parishad (AJP) president Lurin Jyoti Gogoi.
Congress leadership has announced that this time, no aspirant, without having the winning ability, would be given party ticket to contest the election in Assam, slated to be held on March 27, April 1 and April 6, 2021.
The BJP with its allies AGP and United People’s Party Liberal (UPPL), led by Pramod Boro, the new chief executive member of Bodoland Territorial Region (BTR), is likely to face a tough fight against the grand alliance.