The stage is set for the 14th assembly elections in Assam this year. Incumbent Congress government, headed by chief minister Tarun Gogoi, is going to complete its tenure in June 2016. The Election Commission has declared the final schedule for elections. At stake are 126 assembly seats. Needless to say, all political contenders have swung into action in preparation for the polls.
BJP’s ‘Mission 84’ to Dethrone Congress
The Assamese citizenry handed landslide victory to Congress in the last assembly elections held in 2011. Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi was sworn in for a third consecutive term. Jump to 2016 and the party is anxiously seeking to sustain its support base in the state. The gradual shift of important party MLAs to the BJP has been a serious cause of concern. With its ‘Mission 84’, the BJP is leaving no stone unturned to promote its presence in the state. Union Minister for Sports and Youth Affairs Sarbananda Sonowal, who represents Assam’s Lakhimpur constituency in the Lok Sabha, has been chosen as the chief ministerial candidate. The BJP-led central government is also considering a series of sops for the Assamese electorate, extending Scheduled Tribe status to six communities being prime among them. Also in the fray are other regional parties like AASU and AGP which the Congress and BJP cannot afford to ignore.
The Congress knows that it needs to forge a strong alliance with other smaller parties to stem the BJP’s growing surge in the state. Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi is fighting brave and asking people to stay away from BJP’s ‘beef politics’ and entreating other parties to form a grand secular alliance to counter them.
Meanwhile, the BJP has gone all out to secure majority in the state. If it faces a divided opposition, its task will be easier. Notably, the party already has the Bodoland People’s Front (BPF) on its side. Adivasi tribes covering 40% of the population have been promised scheduled tribe (ST) status if the BJP is voted to power. Indeed, in view of the state’s diverse demographic pattern, claiming support of every section of the Assamese population on its own will be a big challenge for all the parties in the race.
The All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF) has struck an electoral tie-up with JD(U) and RJD to fight the ‘communal’ BJP together in Assam.
Burning Issues in the State
Assam has been mired in a number of problems for several years now. The principal issues burdening the Assamese people are price rise, lack of development, unemployment and rampant corruption. The issue of illegal immigrants is still fresh in the memory of not just the Assamese but every Indian citizen.
AGP Changes Stand, Forges Alliance with the BJP
The BJP has managed to forge a crucial alliance with regional party AGP in spite of rising protests and resentments within both the parties. Out of the total 126 seats, senior AGP leaders have reportedly agreed to contest 25 seats where BJP won’t contest. AGP chief Atul Bora and senior party member Pradip Hazarika had a meeting with BJP president Amit Shah which was also attended by Sarbananda Sonowal and Himanta Biswa Sarma. Affirming that this would help the coalition clinch power from Congress in the coming assembly polls, the BJP state leadership looks happy with the alliance.
Candidates in the Fray
The Congress has released its list of first 65 candidates. According to the list, Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi will contest from Congress bastion Titabar. Former union minister Pawan Ghatowar is the party nominee from Moran and sitting MLA Rajib Lochan Pegu will contest from Majuli.
Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi has announced that Tarun Gogoi is going to be the Congress’ CM candidate this time as well. The BJP has announced names of 88 candidates for the coming polls. Sarbananda Sonowal, who also happens to represent Assam’s Lakhimpur constituency in the Lok Sabha, is the party’s CM candidate. Key opposition party AIUDF has declared that it will contest 60 out of the total 126 assembly seats and leave the rest for ‘secular and like-minded people’ to defeat the BJP.
Left wing parties have decided to field 59 candidates in Assam. The Trinamool Congress is going to field candidates in up to 25 assembly constituencies. BJP ally Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) has released its first list of 25 candidates for the coming Assembly elections. The Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), which was launched last year by former BJP national executive member Prodyut Bora, is going to contest in 14 constituencies.
According to an opinion poll conducted by C-Voter, the Congress is going to face defeat in the 2016 assembly elections. The BJP-AGP alliance is likely to get 57 seats out of the total 126 and become the largest front in Assam. The Congress may end up as the runner-up with 44 seats. Badruddin Ajmal’s UDF is likely to get 19 seats.
BJP-AGP alliance: 57
Elections will be held in two phases. The first phase will be conducted on 4 April and the second phase on 11 April.
65 constituencies will go to polls on in first phase of Assam elections on 4 April
The fate of 539 candidates will be decided on 4 April when Assam will hold the first phase of assembly elections. Total 96,11,732 electors are eligible to vote in the elections. The state will witness voting in 65 constituencies out of the 126 seats in legislative assembly.
The constituencies, which are going to polls in the first phase, mainly come under Upper Assam, Barak Valley and north bank of the River Brahmaputra. The voting will take place across 12,190 polling stations.
First Phase of Assam Assembly Elections: Developments
The first phase of the Assam Assembly elections was held on 4 April 2016. According to data with the Election Commission of India, the voter turnout was 78.06%. Polling was conducted in 65 of the total 126 constituencies in upper Assam and Barak Valley. Congress chief ministerial candidate Tarun Gogoi and BJP chief ministerial candidate Sarbananda Sonowal’s constituencies Titabor and Majuli went to polls in the first phase.
Second Phase of Assam Assembly Elections: Record Polling witnessed
Assam recorded more than 82% polling, the highest ever in its electoral history. After the state had its second and final phase of Assembly elections, speculations over surprise results are doing rounds. Assam’s most elitist seats, including Gauhati West, Gauhati East, Dispur and Jalukbari, recorded 80% polling. Also, a minimum of seven constituencies with a high Hindu and tribal population in the Muslim belt, also voted in huge numbers. Lower and central Assam had Muslims dominating 41 Phase-II seats with heavy voting.
|Indian National Congress (INC)||78|
|Assam United Democratic Front (AUDF)||18|
|Bodoland Peoples Front||12|
|Asom Gana Parishad (AGP)||10|
|Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP)||5|
|All India Trinamool Congress (AITC)||1|
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