Assam Polls: Cong Highlights Development, BJP Targets Infiltration

Ahead of the final phase of polling in Assam, BJP and Congress make attempts to swing voters in their favour.

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Assam BJP CM candidate Sonowal and CM Tarun Gogoi at polling booths in Assam during first phase of Assam Assembly election 2016. (Photo: ANI screengrab)

As Assam readies for the second phase of polls on Monday, covering 61 constituencies, political parties in the state have been busy in last ditch efforts to woo the electorate in every way.

While the Congress has been highlighting the development it has ushered in during its 15-year rule in the insurgency-ravaged state, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is playing on the threat of Moulana Badaruddin Ajmal becoming the state’s deputy chief minister in the event of a Congress-All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF) government in the state.

Tarun Gogoi (centre) at AICC headquarters in New Delhi, in August 2015. (Photo: PTI)
Tarun Gogoi (centre) at AICC headquarters in New Delhi, in August 2015. (Photo: PTI)
People have witnessed the development our government has brought in the past 15 years. In 2001, the state was in a financial mess and people were scared to go out of their homes after dusk. Now people are roaming around freely and the financial situation has improved to a great extent
Anjan Dutta, President, Assam Congress

Asserting that the party is going to form the government again in the state, Dutta said,“The violence is now over and it is the Congress government that has brought most of the insurgent outfits to the negotiating table in the last 15 years.”

Dutta refuted allegations of any understanding with the AIUDF and claimed that it is the BJP which has a tacit understanding with the AIUDF.

BJP Attacks Congress on Bangladesh Infiltration Issue

Ahead of Assembly Elections in Assam, <b>The Quint</b> interviewed BJP’s Chief Ministerial candidate Sarbananda Sonowal. (Photo: <b>The Quint</b>)
Ahead of Assembly Elections in Assam, The Quint interviewed BJP’s Chief Ministerial candidate Sarbananda Sonowal. (Photo: The Quint)

The saffron party, which had made it big in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls in Assam by winning seven of the total 14 Lok Sabha seats, has intensified its attack on the ruling Congress party regarding the infiltration from Bangladesh. The BJP has said the party will seal the Indo-Bangladesh border if it comes to power in Assam.

The party raised the issue of unemployment in the state and said that in 2001 there were only four lakh unemployed in Assam, which have now gone up to 23 lakh. It said the Congress government has failed to create job opportunities in the state.

The BJP has been asking the people in almost all its rallies not to vote for the Congress, claiming it might threaten the indigenous Assamese identity by paving way for a ‘Bangladeshi’ (as the AIUDF is often referred to in Assam due to the party’s popularity among Bengali-speaking Muslim settlers in Assam) to become the deputy chief minister.

BJP Tough, Congress Soft on AIUDF

All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF) chief Badruddin Ajmal. (Photo: PTI)
All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF) chief Badruddin Ajmal. (Photo: PTI)

The substantial change in the state’s demographic pattern in the recent past due to the illegal infiltration from the other side of the border has already caused concern among the indigenous people that a ‘Bangladeshi’ may become the chief minister.

What has made people buy the BJP’s argument is that while the Congress has been taking on the BJP aggressively in almost all its rallies, the party has maintained a soft stand on the AIUDF. Besides, AIUDF legislators in the Assam assembly have also voted for the two candidates nominated by Congress for the Rajya Sabha.

We are ready to sit in the opposition for another 50 years but we are not ready to join hands with the AIUDF to form a government in Assam. The people of Assam have understood the tacit understanding between the Congress and the AIUDF. The high turnout of voters in the first phase is an indication that people want a change
Sarbanand Sonowal, President, Assam BJP

While the Congress is going to polls in Assam with a regional party – United Peoples’ Party (UPP), the BJP has forged an alliance with the Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) and the Bodoland Peoples’ Front (BPF). The BPF is ruling party in the Bodoland Territorial Council (BTC) – a sixth schedule autonomous council that runs administration in four districts of Bodoland in Assam.

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