Is historic win in Assembly polls gliding BJP panchayat-poll pill?
By our Staff Reporter
GUWAHATI, March 5: Is the historic win by the BJP in the recently held Assembly polls in three north-eastern States gliding its Assam leaders the panchayat poll pill? Be that as it may, the party seems to have energized itself to hold rural poll in the State so as to keep the winning spree intact till the Lok Sabha poll slated for 2019.
Right in the first flush of enthusiasm on March 3, 2018 when results of Assembly polls in Meghalaya, galand and Tripura were announced, an elated Assam Chief Minister Sarbanda visited the party offices in the city and appealed to all party leaders and cadres to get ready for a similar feat in the panchayat poll as well in Assam. The Chief Minister even held an informal meeting with party leaders and cadres on that day and dropped a broad hint for holding the rural poll in the State in two or three phases.
News being emated from party insiders has also corroborate this when they say that State party president Ranjit Kumar Dass is soon going to send a team to the State Election Commission (SEC) with the request for holding panchayat poll in the State by Bohag (April-May).
This development is quite in sync with the recent directive issued by the Supreme Court of India to Dispur to go ahead with NRC update work and panchayat poll in the State simultaneously. Going by that directive Assam, in all likelihood, was to hold panchayat poll by May 2018.
The BJP may boast of freeing the Northeast from the clutch of the Congress. However, grass-roots workers of the BJP in Assam keep reminding their top leaders of the futility of such a pride as they still have to work under Congress leaders in rural and district levels where most of the zila parishads and panchayats are held by the Congress. This is a reality that makes BJP leaders in the State go flying as such a ground reality does not augur well for the party that aims to sweep all the 14 Lok Sabha constituencies of the State in 2019. This has let the leaders of the party in the State know how crucial win in the panchayat poll is for the party to ensure its win in the Lok Sabha election.
The party has now decided to throw its full weight behind the panchayat poll and asked its MLAs and MPs to take the responsibility of their respective constituencies. The political prospects of MPs and MLAs also largely depend on the results of panchayat poll in their respective areas. Panchayat poll result is more crucial for party MPs than MLAs as the first criterion for judgment of party candidature in the Lok Sabha election in 2019 will be result of panchayat poll.
Two of the 14 Lok Sabha seats – Diphu and Kokrajahar –in Assam have no panchayat poll for being under Sixth Schedule of the Constitution. Seven of the remaining 12 Lok Sabha seats – Dibrugarh, Lakhimpur, Jorhat, gaon, Mangaldai, Tezpur and Guwahati – are held by the BJP. Even as the party has given charge of 2002 gaon panchayats in the State to as many party leaders, the rural poll is going to be an acid test for party MPs if they are to keep their tickets in 2019 intact.