SILCHAR: While BJP is trying to get a strong foothold in the states of Kerala, Tamil Nadu and West Bengal as well as in the union territory of Puducherry, its battle in Assam will be crucial for more than one reason. It will be desperate to regain power as it will strengthen and expand its base in other north eastern states. Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh are now two states ruled by BJP. Besides, this will also help to increase the number of MPs to add to the continuation of the Narendra Modi government at the Centre beyond 1924. Dr Rajdeep Roy is confident BJP led government with AGP and UPPL, alliance partners, will repeat the victory in 2021.
BJP leaders know the battle this time will be more challenging for their party. Congress, AIUDF and BPF combine, the main adversary, is likely to prevent split in Muslim votes who form 30% of the 2.2 crore electorate in the State. Schemers and planners of Saffron party who include most powerful Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, regarded as Chanakya, Chief Minister Sabananda Sonowal, State President Ranjit Dass, and M.P. Dr Rajdeep Roy know well their strategy to outwit and outdo the game plan of the opposition.
The strategy will be set in tune once the candidates of different parties settle down for campaign in their respective constituencies. In 2011, the party wise position in the Assembly after the elections, was Congress 78, AIUDF 18, BPF 12, AGP 10, BJP 5 and others 3. It was a great leap forward for BJP in 2016 when it bagged 60, its partners, AGP 14, and BPF 12, Congress 26 and AIUDF 13 other 1. The equation has changed this time with BPF switching to Congress-AIUDF alliance. Congress and AIUDF fought independently. Both have come together just to upset BJP alliance ride to power. A new front of UPPL of ethnic people is likely to cut into the votes of BPF which will benefit saffron alliance.
If the Congress-led opposition has many salvos to fire at BJP combine, dragging CAA, NRC now on hold, shut down of state funded seminaries, the saffron brigade has many more areas to hit back at the INA led alliance to dub it as 'marriage under compulsion' for ascent to power and kick up row over issues which are linked with protecting the linguistic and cultural identity of indigenous people. BJP has its most popular and non controversial face of Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal, an icon of development for entire Assam. After the death of Tarun Gogoi, Congress is in dilemma over its face to project before the voters.
Cutting across party lines, common people admit rapid development in the State on various fronts. The advantage for BJP combine is the much talked of 'double engine government' to carry forward the agenda of development in the state. It will throw all attempts by the opposition to exploit communal and ethnic divide to the fore wind, opine the political observers. So far, the poll surveys by ABP Ananda and Times Now have predicted return to power of BJP in Assam.
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