Silchar: In the midst of hot talks on ‘mahajot’ or ‘grand alliance’ across the country, notwithstanding fissures here and there, the united opposition standing for bandh on Thursday for the revival of Cachar paper mill has sent a clear signal to BJP for the upcoming panchayat elections as well as Lok Sabha polls of 2019, the political observers think. It is an issue which has more political purport than merely the reopening of a shut down industrial unit, the only centrally sponsored concern of its type in Barak Valley.
Though the 12-hour bandh was called by Paper Mill Revival Action Committee, it came as a fodder for the opposition parties which include Congress, AIUDF, CPM, CPI, CPI (M-L) and SUCI. At a press-meet held later on after the bandh, the Action Committee leaders hailed the spontaneous public support to make the bandh a total success, though the train and air services remained unaffected.
Opposition took it as a mandate of the people against BJP as both the Centre and the State government of Assam have not taken any concrete action plan despite their repeated assurances for the mill lying closed for the last 2 years. A handful of picketers, not more than 200 arrested from the three districts of valley, could paralyze normal life. In fact, bandh called by any Tom, Dick and Harry organization instills sense of fear among people and vehicular traffic which prefer to remain indoors for safety and security.
But, leaving aside the argument, the success of bandh has brought into focus the basic questions, is the opposition unity a challenge to BJP and is it also any indication that the people have rallied round the opposition, shifting their allegiance from the saffron party? This will be too simplistic to say and analyze. The reality is how far the united opposition will remain united. There is no clear indication that the opposition has formed any kind of alliance to fight in the panchayat elections. So far, the candidates of non BJP parties are contesting the elections on their own party symbol.
From all indication, Congress seems to have been gaining ground even in those areas where AIUDF has been ruling the roost. The gradual decimation of Ajmal party is attributed to its stand on NRC update. There is lot of resentment among the Bengalis of this valley in particular for the stand taken by their leader Badruddin Ajmal. The trends of things in the political arena in the wake of the panchayat polls show that the AIUDF supporters in the stronghold of Hailakandi district, the three assembly seats being held by it, are swinging towards Congress.
The precarious position of Ajmal brigade can be understood from the fact that it has found it difficult to find candidates to contest in the panchayat elections.
From all reckoning, the results of panchayat elections involving the three main contenders, BJP, Congress and AIUDF, will in all circumstances impact the crucial Lok Sabha polls, due in May, most probably. Political observers, however, refuse to give much importance to the bandh united opposition since the left parties have not much influence or public support. It will be mainly a triangular contest involving BJP, Congress and AIUDF. So far, there is no such information that all the opposition parties are forming an alliance. To say that opposition unity has thrown a challenge to BJP is reading too much in the development. But, NRC has become a big issue and unless the Centre takes a decision to bail out the Bengalis from the crisis looming large before them, it will have a serious ramification for the Lok Sabha polls.
Also Read: Cachar News