2021 Assam Assembly polls
Assam health minister Himanta Biswa Sarma campaigning in Bihpuria for the upcoming Assembly polls

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is leaving no stone unturned to ensure its victory in the upcoming state Assembly elections in Assam.

In 2016 when the BJP first came to power in Assam, the anti-incumbency factor together with the immense popularity of Prime Minister Narendra Modi played a major role in helping the party secure 60 seats in the Assam state Assembly.

Modi’s claims of bringing in a wave of Paribartan (change) also won the sympathies of the public, who was already weary of the wide-spread corruption and lack of unemployment and economic growth in the state.

However, in the past years, BJP’s failure to fulfil its numerous promises has resulted in the gradual waning in the faith that the public had placed on it.

Although the present state government completed certain development projects that had been left incomplete by the previous Tarun Gogoi-led Congress government, it has failed to solve the core problems in the state – unemployment, illegal infiltration, the perennial problems of floods and erosion and not to mention rampant corruption.

The flare-up in communal sentiments because of apparent ‘Hindutva’ sentiments, a section of people threatens to shake the foundation of a society where people of all communities have been residing together for ages.

The indigenous people had heavily pinned their hopes on the party to solve the long-standing problem of illegal infiltration, but their hopes were dashed to pieces with the BJP government in the Centre bringing in Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) that threatened to make way for more illegal immigrants from three neighbouring countries.

Also read: Assam Assembly Elections: BJP likely to field many new faces

The state-wide protests against CAA in 2019 threatened the party’s hold among the various indigenous communities.

Through CAA the state government aimed to retain its vote bank among the Hindu Bengalis, many of who have been excluded from the National Register of Citizens (NRC).

Now, the BJP leaders’ claim of securing 100 seats in the next Assembly elections will come to fruition or not remains to be seen.

The party is trying to woo voters by emphasizing development activities and has announced a slew of development schemes for the state.

BJP leaders, party workers and supporters alike have also begun campaigning vigorously in the state, with state health minister Himanta Biswa Sarma spearheading it.

They are trying to reach out to all communities to return to power in Dispur once again.

The party has also been conducting an induction drive across the state and many members and workers of the political spectrum have switched over to BJP.

Former Rajya Sabha MP and BJP leader Biswajit Diamary, former Assam PWD minister and Congress MLA from Golaghat Ajanta Neog, Congress’ Lakhipur MLA Rajdeep Gowala and senior BPF MLA Bolendra Mushahary joined the saffron party.

The success of the party in bringing major leaders of different parties within its fold cannot be ignored especially in view of the upcoming polls.

However, the BJP cannot woo voters using CAA as its main bait, considering the backlash it received during the anti-CAA movement.

The recent visits of BJP national president JP Nadda and Union home minister Amit Shah to Assam gain prominence ahead of the polls.

The state leaders are now greatly pinning their hopes on Narendra Modi’s scheduled visit to the state on January 23.

Top leaders in an attempt to retain the votes of the Hindu Bengalis, have also hinted that they will find a solution to the predicament being faced by these people.

Regional parties like Asom Jatiya Parishad and Raijor Dal will gain the sympathies of the Assamese community particularly because of their strong stance against CAA, although there is a need for different parties to forge a strong alliance against BJP.

Congress in Assam has forged a ‘Grand Alliance’ with Badaruddin Ajmal-led AIUDF, Ajit Bhuyan-led Anchalik Gana Morcha, CPI, CP(M) and CPI(ML) in an attempt to remove the saffron party from Dispur.

If the regional political parties form a strong alliance with the Congress and AIUDF, there is a strong possibility of defeating the BJP in the upcoming Assembly elections.