Assam: Of Congress Dissidence, BJP Emergence, Jihadi Activities

Published: 21st December 2014 10:02 AM  |   Last Updated: 21st December 2014 10:03 AM   |  A+A-


GUWAHATI: Dissidence in ruling Congress, BJP  winning maximum seats in the Lok Sabha polls, rise in jihadi activities, interrogation of two former Congress ministers in the Saradha scam and violence in Bodoland Territorial Area Districts (BTAD) were some major highlights in Assam in 2014.

The state's political scenario was dominated by continued dissidence in Congress, led by former Health and Education Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma who subsequently resigned from the ministry in July.

Sarma, along with at least 30 MLAs, revolted against Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi's style of functioning.

BJP capitalised on the situation and helped by a massive campaign exercise in the state led by Narendra Modi himself, came out with its best performance winning seven seats. Congress managed to win only three seats.

Principal Opposition party in the state assembly AIUDF also made considerable inroads increasing its tally from one to three whereas former ULFA 'commander' Hira Sarania, contesting as an Independent, wrested the Kokrajhar (ST) seat from the influential Bodoland Peoples' Front (BPF).

The Lok Sabha polls gave a fillip to the state BJP which launched a massive membership drive with an eye on the 2016 assembly polls in the state.

Assam also witnessed rise of jihadi activities with a key accused of the Burdwan blast and senior Jammatul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB) operative Sahanur Alom, his wife and brother along with several others arrested in the state.

Chief Minister Gogoi claimed jihadi activities are mainly confined to Barpeta district with some people from there and Nalbari being trained by JMB. The National Investigation Agency (NIA) is investigating into the jihadi issue. According to state police, some top JMB leaders had visited a madrasa in Larkuchi village in Nalbari and organised motivational training to induct boys in order to create modules in Assam the way they did in West Bengal.

The tentacles of the Saradha scam was also traced to Assam with two former Congress ministers Anjan Dutta and Sarma quizzed by CBI in Kolkata while former DGP Sankar Barua allegedly took his life in September after the investigating agency searched his house along with that of 12 others in the state.

Incidents of clashes between ethnic Bodos and minority migrants resurfaced again this year with 46 people killed during May in Baksa and Kokrajhar districts.

The clashes, which first broke out in 2012 in Kokrajhar, Chirang, Baksa, Udalguri and Dhubri and claimed 110 lives, continue to be a matter of concern for security personnel with simmering discontent between the two communities yet to be buried.

The clashes were mainly attributed to pressure on land with the Bodos claiming that they were the original inhabitants of the area and have the first right to land while the illegal migrants from Bangladesh would not be allowed to settle on their land.

The minorities, on the other hand, claim that militants who are in the possession of illegal arms are using it to intimidate them to leave the area.

Assam, with a history of more than three decades of insurgency, witnessed relatively less incidents of violence with the two major groups-- ULFA led by Arabinda Rajkhowa and NDFB led by Ranjan Daimary --coming to the negotiating table though not much progress was made in talks during the year.

The NDFB (S) stepped up its extortion activities and continued with violence and abduction in certain districts though sustained operations by security forces against the members of the group have led to the killing and apprehension of several cadres in encounters.

The annual DGP conference was for the first time held outside New Delhi, since the country's independence, in Guwahati and was addressed among others by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh.

Modi also announced during his first visit to the state after assuming office that the NDA would go ahead with the land swap deal with Bangladesh, initiated by the previous UPA government, leading to widespread protest from the students' organisations, Opposition political parties like AGP and other organisations.

Meanwhile, the killing of Assam's pride- the endangered one-horned rhinoceros -continued unabated though the numbers declined in world-famed Kaziranga National Park to 24 this year as compared to 34 killings last year.

A positive development in the sports arena was football gaining its erstwhile popularity with the region getting the North East United Football Club, owned by actor-model John Abraham and all matches of the ISL series held here being completely sold out.


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