Is it Mood Vs Mathematics for the Congress-led Mahajot in Assam?

Is the anti-CAA narrative of Congress strong enough to take on BJP’s welfare and anti-Miya politics in Assam.

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It’s amply clear that no single political party can lay claim to Assam in this Assembly election. The contest is between two alliances, the BJP-led alliance and the Congress-led alliance or ‘Mahajot’, which has the AIUDF, Bodoland People’s Front, the Anchalik Gana Morcha, the Communist Party of India (Marxist), the CPI and the CPI-ML.

It’s clearly emerging as a battle of two strategies. The BJP, which has been in power for the last 5 years is depending on its successful and popular welfare schemes, and the anti-Bengali Muslim narrative versus the ‘Mahajot’ that is banking its hopes on anti-CAA sentiments and strategic political tie-ups.

The Quint caught up with Congress MP and son of former Assam CM Tarun Gogoi, Gaurav Gogoi, in North Lakhimpur.

Why has the Congress tied up with AIUDF, what was the compulsion?

People of Assam want all the parties opposed to the Citizenship Amendment Act to be united. Respecting the wishes of the people, the Congress, AIUDF, Bodoland People’s Front, the Anchalik Gana Morcha have come together. We have buried our ideological and political differences for the larger cause of saving the Assam Accord and the Assamese culture. We have come together so that we are strong enough to take on the Government of India. Once the ‘Mahajot’ comes to power in the state, we’ll have to take on the Prime Minister himself to defeat the CAA.

If the ‘Mahajot’ comes to power, what will be your take on CAA and NRC?

Assam has a unique perspective on the CAA because of our history with respect to the Assam Accord. CAA makes the Assam Accord redundant. We’ll challenge the Govt of India in the Supreme Court. All genuine Indians must be included in the NRC. The NRC process was started during the Congress government. It was the BJP government, which in a rush to publish the NRC, made so many errors. Close to 19 lakh people have been excluded, out of which many are genuine Indian citizens. Many are Bengalis and Gorkhas, instead of giving them relief, the BJP is calling them ‘ghuspetia’ (infiltrators). The Congress will ensure that a clean and accurate NRC is published and genuine Indian citizens are included in it irrespective of their religion.

Did the anti-CAA protest in Assam lose momentum after the COVID pandemic and the lockdown?

I don’t see it from a COVID-vs-CAA perspective. During COVID we were all focused on saving lives, ensuring people were not burdened by the lockdown. But now, when it’s about choosing the state government, the CAA is a very important issue. Rahul Gandhi, in his rally in Sivasagar, had announced that the Congress will ensure that the CAA is not accepted. This is the party that signed the Assam Accord and, today, this is the party that will defend it.

Why didn’t the ‘Mahajot’ announce a chief ministerial candidate for Assam?

None of us are in this election for our individual gains. We are far more focused on the needs of the 40 lakh unemployed people. We want to reduce the burden of women who are purchasing an LPG cylinder at Rs 900. People are purchasing fuel at close to Rs 90.

How many seats do you expect the ‘Mahajot’ to win?

I am sure by the end of phase 3 we’ll reach the target of 101 seats.

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