The Assam panchayat elections has set alarm bells ringing for the ruling Congress. The opposition has made inroads in the zilla parishad, capturing four of 19 zilla parishads in the recently concluded polls.
RINGING ALARM bells for the incumbent Congress the Opposition have occupied four zilla parishads of 19 zilla parishads in the Assam
panchayat polls. Fifteen zilla parishads have to the ruling Congress while two have gone to the main opposition Asom Gana Parishad (AGP), one to CPI (M) (Communist Party of India
– Marxist) and another to the Assam United Democratic Front (AUDF) and others.
In Assam six districts are under the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution of India, which are governed by an autonomous council. For the pre-poll violence in Goalpara and for the massive violence on the day of polling in Hailakandi district, the Assam State Election Commission had deferred election. The result of the Belsor Zilla Parishad constituency was declared. The main opposition of the state AGP has won the seat defeating the Congress candidate. In case of zilla parishad members, the ruling Congress has won 233 seats, AGP 59, AUDF 44, BJP 17 and others have won 32 seats out of 385 seats.
In the case of anchalik panchayat members, Congress is on top with 1082 seats, AGP has got 303 seats. AUDF and BJP have got 212 and 113 seats respectively and others have got 280 seats. In the election to the gaon panchayat presidents, 1061 seats have been won by the ruling Congress. Winning 315 seats the AGP is satisfied in the second position, AUDF, BJP and others have won 213 seats, 137 seats and 301seats respectively. In the gaon panchayat member polls, 8169 seats of have gone to the Congress, 3119 seats to the AGP, 1539 seats to the AUDF, 1393 seats to the BJP and others have got 3908 seats.
The Congress was in the loosing category in the panchayat elections this year. In 2001, 90 percent of the total seats went to ruling Congress. But in the present election only 47.87 per cent seats have been occupied by the Congress. During the elections the administrative machinery is run by the government, so the possibility of rigging cannot be ruled out. So it is significant that four zilla parishads has gone to the Opposition.
Decreasing popularity of the ruling party is in evidence. The general election will be held almost within a year, so the Congress needs to take the result of panchayat election seriously. Another significant point is the up gradation of AUDF, the Muslim based political party, which has occupied the third position, pushing BJP to the fourth.