Fluctuating grips over Assam voters in Lok Sabha polls since 1951

Fluctuating grips over Assam voters in Lok Sabha polls since 1951

The Lok Sabha polls in Assam since 1951 depict a vivid picture of the Congress descending from the top to the bottom and the BJP ascending from the bottom to the top.

Staff Reporter

GUWAHATI: The Lok Sabha polls in Assam since 1951 depict a vivid picture of the Congress descending from the top to the bottom and the BJP ascending from the bottom to the top.

The Congress had almost no contenders from 1951 to 1980, literally giving the oldest national party in India walkovers in almost every electoral battle in the state. The BJP, on the other hand, opened its account in the Lok Sabha from Assam in 1991. Since then, the party has been rising gradually.

The situation in the state was such that the Congress won nine of the ten Lok Sabha seats in Assam in 1951. In 1957, the number of parliamentary constituencies increased to 12 in the state. In that Lok Sabha poll, the Congress won nine seats, and the party retained nine seats in 1962 as well. In 1967, the number of parliamentary seats increased to 14 in Assam, and the Congress won ten seats. In 1971, it won 13 seats, ten seats in 1977, and 13 seats in 1980. With the people of Assam boycotting the Lok Sabha poll in 1980 during the period of the Assam Agitation, the Congress got the chance of a veritable walkover.

In 1984, the number of seats won by the Congress abruptly came down to four, with independent candidates winning eight seats. In 1990, there was no Lok Sabha election in Assam because of the imposition of President’s Rule in the state.

In 1991, the Congress won eight seats, leaving two for the BJP and one each for the AGP and independents. In 1996, while the number of seats in Congress fell to five, the AGP also won five, and the BJP won one. In 1998, the Congress won ten seats, and the BJP got two. In 2004, the Congress won nine seats, and the BJP and the AGP won two each. In 2009, the Congress won seven seats, the BJP four, and the AGP one. In 2014, the Congress’ figure from Assam came down to three, and the BJP won seven seats. In 2019, the Congress won three seats, and the BJP won nine seats.

According to political pundits, the Congress has been on the verge of extinction in Assam with its leaders’ maintaining a mechanical relationship with grassroots-level people in the state. The party leaders, according to pundits, had scant regard for the wellbeing of the grassroots people in the state.

Another important factor that paved the way for the near extinction of the Congress in Assam was corruption and dillydally tactics adopted by the governments led by the Congress in the state. Cost and time overruns from delayed projects were the order of the day.

The BJP, on the other hand, laid much emphasis on strengthening its relations with the people of the state up to the grassroots level. The party’s leaders have a strong emotional connection to the grassroots people and workers. The sister organizations of the BJP are also quite in sync with the party, reaching out to the people of the state at the grassroots level, including the support base of the AGP.

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