Submit :
News                      Photos                     Just In                     Debate Topic                     Latest News                    Articles                    Local News                    Blog Posts                     Pictures                    Reviews                    Recipes                    
Why Congress swept the polls in Assam
The 126-year-old Indian National Congress once again came into power led by Tarun Gogoi. Discussed in the article are a few points that led to Congress gaining mileage with the common man, and where the opposition faltered.
INDIAN NATIONAL Congress has scripted history by sweeping the recently concluded polls in Assam and came back to power for the third term under the able leadership of Tarun Gogoi. The 126-year-old party has almost written off the very existence of opposition winning 78 out of 126 seats in 13th Assembly Elections in the state while its ally Bodoland Peoples Front won 12 seats making the tally perfect 90. It is an unbelievable result in favour of the ruling party in the wake of recent political scenario and the party seeking votes for consecutive third term.

Statistically, it is a record after 1972 when the Congress under the leadership of well known and honoured former Chief Minister of the state late Sarat Chandra Sinha won 96 out of 126 seats. The regional party Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) could not manage the magic figure of 64 seats to form the government on its own in spite of a huge undercurrent in their favour just after Great Assam Agitation in the year 1985. The media in the state decided to campaign against the ruling party with vested interest and forecasted that ruling Congress would lose badly in the state assembly elections.

Even the experts and political commentators believed that there was huge anti-establishment sentiment growing amongst the common people of the state. Exit polls conducted by national media houses predicted that the state was witnessing a hung assembly although they thought that the Congress would still emerge as the single largest party. But the common voters thought otherwise and they exactly knew whom to vote to power. The main opposition party AGP and its hidden ally and the BJP were confident to form the next government. In reality both parties failed miserably; AGP just has managed to touch the double digit figure of mere 10 while BJP just has won meager 5 seats.

It is the worst result for the AGP after its formation in 1985, and BJP has lost 50 per cent of its seats compared to last assembly elections result. BJP is wiped out in Barak Valley of the state where the party had significant vote bank and opened its account for the first time in the state. Significantly, the 6-year-old party AUDF has gained momentum by winning 18 seats, and may be regarded as the main opposition party. The powerful health minister of the state, and key figure and mastermind behind this unprecedented success made an all-time record in the state by winning the poll with a margin of more than 78 thousand votes over its nearest rival candidate of BJP. He received highest criticism amongst all ministers and was attacked by his opponents like anything.

How could the ruling party score a hat-trick and sweep polls is a billion dollar question? The main opposition party AGP is blaming EVMs and pointing fingers at the state machinery alleging them of EVM tempering. Their leader and one of the hopeful CM candidates, former two-time chief minister of the state Prafulla Kumar Mahanta even sought re-election using ballot paper. It was a known fact that the party would blame the anomalous EVMs for its defeat. They alleged the Congress party of booth capturing when elections were conducted using ballot papers. It is a common practice.

The AGP leadership never learns from its mistakes and does not respect verdict of common people. They were over-confident and were fully dependent on the state media reports. The state media always feels that the opposition parties in the state are very weak and they have to play the role of main opposition in the state. They undermine their role as the fourth pillar of democracy. It is a well known fact that a vernacular Assamese newspaper of the state and the insurgent outfit United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA) used to play a major role in elections till the end of the 2001 assembly elections.

The main opposition party AGP ruled the state twice and failed miserably on all fronts. The party lost focus and its leadership was maneuvering for wealth - forgetting the common people. The party was formed garnering mass support with agitation to deport Bangladeshi foreigners living in the state. The mainstream Assamese people emotionally attached to the party witnessed the worst phase of ten years of their rule. They could not detect and deport a single so-called Bangldeshi foreigner from the state. People rejected them twice earlier. The party got fragmented many times and could come under one umbrella just before a year to contest elections.

They could not forge an alliance with any party, but were advocating for grand alliance of opposition parties to form an anti-congress govt. in the state. They even forgot the ideological differences of the opposition parties. Would this kind government be successful? People understood their stand and voted for a stable government of Congress party who showed maturity. The ruling party has state leadership unlike BJP who can take state forward. The central leadership of BJP also fought the elections with full strength, but does not have charismatic state leadership to garner support.

The opposition parties had very weak presence during last five years in the state assembly. One of the leaders of ruling party arrogantly asked the opposition to give walk over to them. He argued that it was waste of public money to hold elections when there was no strong opposition in the state. His argument has proven to be correct. Eleven MLAs of the opposition defied party line and voted for ruling Congress party candidate in last Rajya Sabha Elections. The opposition got some momentum with the emergence of the peasant leader and RTI activist Akhil Gogoi who managed to garner massive public support against the incumbent government.

The peasant leader led movement against construction of big dam in lower Subansiri in Arunachal Pradesh. He waged a war against powerful state ministers including the chief minister of the state. His campaign against corruption lost focus when he concentrated on personal attacks on the powerful minister Dr. Himanta Biswa Sarma. His arrogance, uncivilized attitude attracted media attention but failed to convince common people of the state. He brought peasant movement to the streets of capital of the state. The opposition parties were confident that there were anti establishment sentiments in the state and it would be easier for them to win elections.

The peasant leader was openly standing alongside the opposition parties especially the AGP. He declared that he would hold at least two rallies in every constituency. He was helped by the anti establishment media fraternity who were engaged in uncut live coverage of his uncivilized press conferences. But he proved to be non factor and dumped the opposition as they were too much dependent on him. Hope the verdict teaches a lesson.

Email Id
Verification Code
Email me on reply to my comment
Email me when other CJs comment on this article
Sign in to set your preference
merinews for RTI activists
In This Article
tarun gogoi
(138 Articles)

Not finding what you are looking for? Search here.