Guwahati, Feb 26: The Assembly elections in Assam, the first in northeast India after BJP came to power in Centre in May 2019, will be held in three phases that will begin from March 27.
Announcing the dates, Chief Election Commissioner of India Sunil Arora said, off the 126 seats in Assam Assembly, 47 will go on poll on March 27 in the first phase, 39 constituencies will go on polls on April 1 in the second phase and 40 seats will go on poll for the third and final phase on April 6.
“Keeping in view the COVID-19 pandemic 5hst is receding now, the number of polling booths have been increased 34.71 percent from 24,890 in 2016 to 33,530 in 2021” said Arora addressing media at Delhi on Friday.
With the announcement of dates, the Model Code of Conduct has also come into effect, Arora said.
The elections this year will be fought basically in three fronts — the BJP and its allies after successfully achieving “Congress mukt” northeast to maintain the status quo, the Congress and five other forged in Mahagathbandhan to revive lost glory and regional forces armed with anti-Citizenship Amendment Act, 2019 sentiment to protect Assam’s identity.
The BJP, after the Bodoland Territorial Council elections, where it had forged alliances with United People’s Party Liberal (UPPL) is in all likelihood going to ditch its alliance from Bodoland in 2016 elections, Bodo People’s Front (BPF) and carry forward in this elections with UPPL and Asom Gana Parishad.
Unlike last term in 2016 when the BJP had to overthrow a 15 year long Congress’s government under the leadership of former Chief Minister, now deceased, Tarun Gogoi, retaining power this year would have been a smooth sail, made uphill by CAA passed in the parliament in December 2019.
The act that amends Citizenship Act 1955 to grant citizenship to religious minorities — Hindu, Christian, Jain, Buddhist, Parsi and Sikh — from neighbouring Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Pakistan, not only hurt the BJP’s vote banks in the state, especially in Upper Assam, but, also gave a cause to the oppositions to harp on.
among the anti-CAA crusaders, two regional political parties — Assam Jatiya Parishad )AJP) from All Assam Students’ Union (AASU) along with Asom Jatiyatabadi Yuba Chatra Parishad and Raijor Dal from Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti along with about 60 other organisations — jave formed and eventually forged an alliance together for the upcoming elections.
With AASU, from which Asom Gana Parishad — a BJP ally now — had formed following six-year-long Assam Agitation, being the wind beneath the AJP’s wings, may give a major competition in the elections this year. In the foray is also firebrand KMSS leader Akhil Gogoi who is lodged in jail for over a year now on several charges including sedition for his roles in the Anti-CAA protests.
Meanwhile, the Congress have also united with its once-arch-enemy All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF) and with three left organisations and a regional party. They have also built its poll campaigns around the CAA which, they promise to repel if brought to power.
The Congress would have been a natural choice among those who opposed the act — Citizenship Amendment Bill, 2016 then — back in 2018 in the Parliament and managed to garner enough support to repel it in Rajya Sabha.
That besides, the Congress also began an Axom Bachao campaign to highlight where the ruling BJP have “deceived the people of Assam”.
BJP, on the other hand,is pitching to protect the rights, land culture , language of the indigenous communities of Assam against the migrant settler from Bengali muslim community. Development is the other pitch for BJP.
Flood free Assam is yet another major pitch of the BJP. Himanta has promised repayment of Micro finance loans.
The campaigns, however has not reached to the stage where the parties would announce their Chief Ministerial candidate.