New Delhi, Nov 22
[dropcap color=”#008040″ boxed=”yes” boxed_radius=”8px” class=”” id=””]T[/dropcap]The BJP is expected to go all out to capture power in Assam when the elections are held six months from now. Of the five states, which will go to polls simultaneously, the party cannot expect miracles in West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Puducherry and Kerala. Assam is the only state which can offer it a chance to redeem itself after the big losses in Delhi and Bihar. If the BJP does not win Assam, it will give the much-needed ‘booster’ dose to the Congress.
The BJP has taken the first step to put its house in order in Assam by nominating Union Minister Sarbananda Sonowal as the state unit chief. The party is also expected to name him as the Chief Ministerial face.
Here is why the BJP is upbeat on Assam –
Anti-incumbency: The Tarun Gogoi Government is battling three terms (15 years) of anti-incumbency. Post-Lok Sabha polls, the BJP has been able to capture power in all the Congress-ruled states.
Polarization: In a state where the illegal Muslim immigrant is a big issue, the state BJP has been able to persuade the Central government to grant stay permits to Bengali Hindu refugees, who have migrated from Bangladesh and Pakistan due to religious persecution. This is seen as a possible game changer because Bengali Hindu refugees are estimated to be around six millions of the total population of 31 million. The Bengali Hindus backed the BJP in a big way in the Lok Sabha election which saw the saffron outfit winning seven out of the 14 seats whereas the Congress could get just three seats.
Membership swelling: The Party is living up to the aspirations of the Assamese who have seen an uninterrupted 15-year of Tarun Gogoi. BJP’s membership in Assam has seen a ten-fold jump in one year, going up from 2.5 lakh to over 27 lakh.
Local bodies: The BJP wields power in 38 of the 74 urban local bodies. It shows that party is well entrenched in the urban areas.
Fresh inroads: In its maiden electoral foray in the Bodoland Territorial Council elections, the BJP was able to open its account, winning one seat.
Booth committees: The BJP is close to setting up committees at every booth to unleash a massive campaign during the polls and mobilize the voters on the polling day.
Reaching out to Students: The BJP’s student wing—Akhil Bhartiya Vidyarthi Parishad – holds two third of the posts in college and university students’ unions. In June, a prominent student leader Manoj Baruah joined the BJP. Baruah is the former president of Asom Jatiyatabadi Yuba Chatra Parishad. His presence in the BJP camp will help the party make further inroads into the youth electorate. The former general secretary of Assam Tea Tribes Students Association Teras Gowala, former AGP joint secretary Ashim Baruah also joined the BJP along with Baruah.
Exodus from Congress: Nine congress legislators recently switched over to the BJP. Earlier, a powerful Congress leader, Himanta Biswa Sarma, who was a one-time close aide of Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi joined the BJP in August. Sarma is considered a ‘moneybag’ and a leader with great organizational skills. Two well-placed leaders of the All Assam Students’ Union (AASU), Sankar Prasad Roy and Tapan Kumar Gogoi, also recently joined the BJP.