From our Correspondent
TINSUKIA, May 25: In Assam politics, the BJP was modest to begin its innings in 1996 assembly election with just four seats, all from Barak Valley. This increased to five in the 2001 election, ending at an unprecedented 60 all across the State and four out of five seats in Tinsukia district in the recently concluded election.
Among the old guards and veteran loyalists who laid the BJP’s foundation and gradually distanced themselves from the present power-hungry political lobby in Tinsukia district, mes of Kumud Bihari Das, a nogerian, comes to the forefront. Significantly, Das had been specially invited by Chief Minister Sarbanda Sonowal to be present at the swearing-in ceremony held on Tuesday and he attended the programme despite old age.
In Tinsukia district, BJP was a non-entity political party. In 1996, Dr Subramanian Swamy’s fiery speech in an election rally in Tinsukia, which was though thinly attended, made a tremendous impact on people’s mind and even hardcore AGP loyalists too accepted BJP’s ideology. It was he who set the BJP’s political ball rolling in Tinsukia district, amid the backdrop of Congress morchy that ruled the district for long 59 years from the period 1957 to May, 2016 except for a brief period of five years from 1978-1983 with Sadiya and Doomdooma in between.
In1996 the State witnessed both Assembly and Lok Sabha elections and BJP fielded its candidates in all five constituencies in Tinsukia district as symbolic contestants. In its maiden appearance, the BJP could not secure more than 12 per cent votes in any constituency. In 122 Tinsukia, Ratneswar Sarma secured 12.03 per cent votes, 123 Digboi Gha Kanta Dutta secured 10.3 per cent votes, 124 Margherita first by-electionBhaben Sharma secured 5.4 per cent votes, second by-election Kul Bahadur Chetri secured 11.8 per cent votes, 125 Doomdooma Gulak Deka secured 5.8 per cent votes and Ajoy Gogoi in 126 Sadiya secured 2.6 per cent votes.
This did not deter BJP from contesting subsequent elections. There was a significant rise of BJP’s share in 2001 election. In Tinsukia, Shiu Shambhu Ojha secured 30.05 per cent votes, Bhaben Sharma from Digboi bagged 30.4 per cent votes and Debojit Baruah in Margherita secured 10.6 per cent votes. While data was not available for 2006 election, in 2011 election, BJP’s tactical move and stair-step rise had shaken the Congress circle after Dilip Moran unseated Congress in Doomdooma by securing 37.1 per cent votes. He was the first BJP MLA in 59 years of Tinsukia’s political history though in other constituencies except Sadiya, there was neck-to-neck contest with either Congress or AGP, while Sanjay Kishan secured 31.33 per cent votes in Tinsukia, Suren Phukan from Digboi secured 36.11 per cent votes and Kamakhya Tassa from Margherita secured 37.11 per cent votes.
In the recently concluded election, in all five constituencies in Tinsukia district initial electioneering started with mudslinging, demonstrations to the extent of total boycott by district leaders over candidate’s nomition and that continued till the end, particularly in Tinsukia. Surprisingly, all these pseudo leaders surfaced on the counting day and took over the show after Sanjay Kishan defeated the Congress candidate by an unbeatable margin.