An opportunity for regional parties
Assam- a commentary
Last Sunday afternoon’s breaking news of Dr. Himanta Biswa Sarma’s switchover decision from the Indian tiol Congress to the BJP was an inevitable outcome of his political moves observed in last couple of years. He exhibited his dissidence on the power faction of the Assam Congress and tried his best either to dethrone the CM Tarun Gogoi or to make a pathway for him to be the super boss in the Assam Congress. When his objectives did not materialize he started looking for altertives. On Sunday we saw the file. There were overwhelming speculations and discussions afterwards in the media on who the gainers are and who the losers are. Mr. Gaurob Gogoi’s entry into the Assam congress had triggered Dr. Sarma’s dissidence which became the turning point. But before that he was the right hand person of Mr. Tarun Gogoi. Dr. Sarma has his own followers within the congress and is considered a shrewd politician of the present generation. It cannot be denied that he is a political stalwart. He reached the plateau of his growth but the threats from his cabinet colleagues became a strong barrier in his rise in the Congress.
The BJP is a cadre based party and follows corporate tactics and strategies in the course of their expansion, so they hired an eligible political marketer in the form of Dr. Himanta Biswa Sarma. Dr. Sarma knows that it is an opportunity for him to lead the party as there is a lack of political leaderships in the Assam BJP. Neither Ms Bijoya Chakarborty nor Mr. Siddhartha Bhattacharjee is capable of carrying on their mission for power in Assam. Strategists like Mr. Prdyut Bora and Mr. Adip Phukan had deserted the party earlier; so now the replacement is being done through Dr. Sarma and his team. A dozen sitting MLAs are expected to be with him. In a media discussion one alyst stated that the Congress VP Rahul Gandhi was not properly informed about the importance of Dr. Sarma but the alertness seen in the Congress post the debacle in the last parliamentary election ruled out such apprehensions.
As per his own admission Dr. Sarma’s position has been in doldrums since the last 13 months. A rival within the party is more dangerous than an outsider and it was known to the rank and file of the INC top brass. Now Dr. Sarma need not portray himself as a deprived soldier who was kicked out by the party for raising legitimate issues before them. Already he is carrying a stigma of the Louis Berger corruption case which is documented by none but his present employer, the BJP. In fact Assam congress temporarily got rid of an onslaught by the opposition and also from a destabilizing factor within the party. The BJP with limited options due to the ensuing assembly election has to rely on a big shot like Dr. Himanta Biswa Sarma, who has a track record of formulating election winning strategies. The saffron party has realized that religious polarization will not work here which they adopted earlier in some states. The U turns on some specific issues have weakened the BJP in Assam and that has forced them to practice acquiring, hiring, branding and positioning their product in the present manner. The BJP will use marketing strategies by hiring professiols and tactfully use localized sentiments and play with the demand of the tribal status to six ethnic groups. But for them a tough battle is ahead because a section of power mongers within them may create problems on unexpected terms any time. It will be interesting to see the team work of erstwhile AGP leaders in the BJP and the present team of Dr. Himanta Biswa Sarma. Now the speculation is on the balance of political equation after the switchovers of various leaders. It may be a gain for the BJP but not a total loss for the INC. Here the moot point is that it has created an opportunity for the regiol parties. The chance of revival of a regiol force is looming large against both the tiol parties. The present back up provided to the BJP by some Assamese intelligentsia will diminish in the future and may swing towards regiol forces. It is clear to all that neither the BJP nor INC can fulfil the aspirations of the people of Assam as both are the two sides of the same coin. As the importance of regiol forces is going to increase, at this critical juncture they should capitalize on the opportunity with an unified agenda to create more space for them. Their objectives must be clear with complete dedication for building confidence among all classes of people of Assam. The tiolistic leaders must ponder on a ratiol way rather than joining either the BJP or the INC. The INC still holds a strong team to play their own cards and carries a sizable percentage of voters with them. They are not the party to bow down easily and have their own plans drafted by political masterminds. The mere exit of Dr. Himanta Biswa Sarma has not created a vacuum in the Assam congress. The BJP can go to any extent to make mission 84 successful. If they can tie up with the PDP in J & K then they can do the same with any other party in Assam. The recent relationship that has development with Bangladesh and some other Arabian countries is a strong indication that the BJP is no longer the party of religious ideologies. For the people of Assam both the INC and the BJP are the devil and the demon. It is now time to strategize with regiol forces to beat these fincially strong political power houses. The AAP in Delhi proved that fince and muscle power are not the only requirements in the road to power.
Raju Kumar Gogol,
Santi Path, RGB Road, Guwahati-24.