GUWAHATI: The BJP clearly has an edge over the Congress when Assam goes to first phase Parliamentary elections on April 11.
The state has 14 Lok Sabha seats and the elections will be held in three phases. Kaliabor, Jorhat, Dibrugarh, Lakhimpur and Tezpur will go to the polls in the first phase.
Except Kaliabor, the remaining four seats are currently held by the BJP. Congress’s Gaurav Gogoi, son of three-time former Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi, is the Kaliabor MP.
The elections will be held against the backdrop of widespread protests against the BJP’s bid to get the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016 passed in Parliament.
As the polls draw near, the Congress is trying to play on the Bill-triggered threat. The party is telling voters that the BJP favours the Bill for vote-bank politics.
No doubt there is anger over the Bill, particularly among a section of locals in Central, Northern and Upper Assam.
However, the majority of the voters are likely to vote for the BJP. The saffron party could keep people in good humour by building and improving the condition of roads.
In his two rallies at Gohpur in Tezpur and Moran in Dibrugarh, PM Narendra Modi did not speak on the issue of Citizenship Bill but he attacked the Congress for the plight of tea garden workers.
Jiten Das, a native of Tinsukia who listened to Modi’s Moran speech, said, “People had months back made up their mind to vote for the BJP. The BJP is giving houses to the poor and has lowered the price of rice given to BPL families from Rs 3 to Re 1. There is a strong pro-BJP wave in Dibrugarh,” he claimed.
Lakhimpur is no different. That people are tilted towards the BJP was evident when they had voted party-led alliance to power in the Mishing Autonomous Council.
In Jorhat, the BJP has fielded the state’s Minister Tapan Gogoi by denying ticket to sitting MP, Kamakhya Prasad Tassa who is an Adivasi (Tea Tribe). The constituency has a large number of Adivasi voters and it is obvious that a section of them will not vote for the BJP for “depriving” Tassa.
Similarly, the BJP might face a problem in Tezpur for its denial of ticket to sitting MP, RP Sarmah who belongs to the Gorkha community.
The only seat the Congress stands a good chance of winning is Kaliabor. BJP ally Asom Gana Parishad is contesting from here.