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Tea Garden Voters Hold The Key In Upper Assam

Tea Garden Voters Hold The Key In Upper Assam

Sentinel Digital DeskBy : Sentinel Digital Desk

  |  2 April 2019 3:30 AM GMT

GUWAHATI: The five Parliamentary seats going to poll in the first phase – Dibrugarh, Jorhat, Lakhimpur, Tezpur, and Kaliabor – are essentially tea garden concentrated, with around 70 percent gardens of the State being located in upper Assam. This is factual, and as such the 5-6 lakh tea garden voters in these five constituencies play the decisive role in upper Assam in every poll. And there is no deviation of this trend in this general election as well.

The 2014 Lok Sabha poll and the 2016 Assembly poll in the State bear testimony to the tea garden voters turning BJP-bound. The BJP made inroads into the once Congress bastion in upper Assam. Prior to that, upper Assam was a Congress stronghold. So much so that, even the AGP wave in 1985 failed to make inroads into the upper Assam constituencies, fortified for the Congress mainly by garden workers.

Garden workers shifting their loyalty to the BJP from the Congress in the last two elections in upper Assam was not for nothing. One of the reasons is underdevelopment during the long Congress rule in the State. Another important reason was the Congress fielding the same set of leaders for many terms with success. The picture became crystal clear in the 2016 Assembly elections. Barring its young and energetic candidates – Rupjyoti Kurmi from Mariani and Ajanta Neog from Golaghat – rest of the Congress candidates in the upper Assam constituencies had to bite the dust. They have swept away in the BJP wave. The BJP, in the meantime, set its priority right in upper Assam. Free-of-cost rice and sugar, besides one-time assistance of Rs 12,000 for pregnant garden women and Rs 5,000 in each labourer’s bank account, line roads layering with bricks, etc have their impact on garden workers.

This apart, tea garden related associations are fast losing their grip on workers because of education. The educated youth coming out from gardens want to change for development.

How the Congress will tackle BJP’s surge in the upper Assam constituencies in this general election is something to be seen.

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