Exit Polls Aside, Congress Doesn’t Rule Out Power Play in Assam

Exit polls predict a big BJP win in Assam, but Congress is already in talks to conjure up numbers to retain power.

2 min read
The Congress predicts margins will be small, prepares ground for post-poll alliance. (Photo: <b>The Quint</b>)

If the exit polls are to be believed, the Congress will be ousted from Assam. The embattled Congress party decided to go-it-alone ruling out any pre poll alliances, but it seems ready to do what it takes to retain power. Sources within the Congress party suggest that they are already laying the ground for a post-poll alliance.

(Graphics: <b>The Quint</b>)
(Graphics: The Quint)

Is the Congress Banking on AIUDF?

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

While the party didn’t concede to any back channel talks with the AIUDF, it didn’t deny it either. Speaking with The Quint, Gaurav Gogoi said that they were in touch with ‘smaller parties’ and independent candidates.

We are in talks with smaller parties. We are confident of retaining power in Assam for the fourth term. The graph of the BJP has been on a decline since 2014 and 2016 is very different. We will do much better than what the numbers are predicting. 
Gaurav Gogoi, MP, Congress

While the BJP has openly accused the Congress and AIUDF of a covert post-poll understanding, local sources say the two parties have been wary of each other but could unite to stall the BJP. The AIUDF has campaigned against the Congress in southern Assam to lure the Congress’ Muslim votes.

In 2011, the Congress had decided to ally with Ajmal’s party, but talks fell though because of differences in the seat sharing agreement. In 2016, however, numbers suggest that the AIUDF could emerge as the king-maker.

The National Picture

Tarun Gogoi (centre) at AICC headquarters in New Delhi, August 2015. (Photo: PTI)
Tarun Gogoi (centre) at AICC headquarters in New Delhi, August 2015. (Photo: PTI)

Talking about national repercussions for the Congress party, Gogoi said that despite the grim picture being painted of the grand old party, it is actually doing better than expected.

While poll pundits say that Assam and Kerala are the Congress party’s litmus tests, they both have their inherent difficulties. In Assam, it is the anti-incumbency of a three-term government and it is no secret that power changes hands every election in Kerala. So neither mandate should be representative of the Congress party’s political fortune. Yet, we are hopeful that the margins will be very small in both states. 
Gaurav Gogoi, MP, Congress

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