Hung Assembly Likely in Assam But Gogoi's Goodwill Gives Congress the Edge, Finds Survey
GUWAHATI: The Congress will emerge the single largest party in the Assam polls, which, however, is set to throw up a hung Assembly, according to a survey by Hyderabad-based research organisation Peoples Pulse.
“The Congress will buck the incumbency factor of 15 years to win 45-50 of the 126 Assembly constituencies that go to polls next month. The BJP will win 35-40 seats and the All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF) would get 15-20 seats. The AGP, BPF and others would pick up the rest,” a release by Peoples Pulse stated.
The survey was conducted — before the election schedule was announced — from February 18-28 in 19 Assembly segments and seats were chosen on a population-proportionate size methodology. A secret ballot was part of the survey. Of the 19 seats, 15 are general seats, three ST and one SC seat.
A key finding is that the Congress is retaining its traditional vote-share to garner 37.4 per cent of votes. The BJP, which has grown at the expense of AGP, will get 33.2 per cent. “Another finding was that Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi led strongly in the voters’ preference for the next CM with 39.9 per cent backing him. BJP chief ministerial candidate Sarbananda Sonowal got 32.5 per cent. Former Congress Minister and BJP leader, Himanta Biswa Sarma, got 8.9 per cent votes. AIUDF leader Badruddin Ajmal and AGP leader Prafulla Kumar Mahanta got 5.4 per cent and 3.8 per cent respectively,” the release said. The issue of Bangladeshi immigrants continues to dominate the voters’ minds, with 52 per cent saying it was important and only 23 per cent found it was blown out of proportion.
B Suresh Babu, Hyderabad Central University’s doctoral research scholar who analysed the data, explained, “This is an issue pulling the BJP down. Asked if Modi has been successful in implementing promises made during his 2014 Parliament campaign, 77.7 per cent said he had failed. Only 20.4 per cent said he has kept his word. Modi’s main promise was that after the Lok Sabha elections, not a single immigrant would be allowed to stay in Assam”.
Congress’ advantage is Gogoi; 33.2 per cent of voters said he performed well, 40 per cent found his work okay; only 26.4 per cent thought otherwise. Updating the National Register of Citizens, prompt payment of salaries, improvement of law and order and development of Assam have gone in his favour. His rival Sonowal, who began as a firebrand youth leader, was termed ‘Jatiya Nayak’. Asked if he still enjoys that status, 61.6 per cent of voters did not think so; only 21.5 percent replied positively.
Interestingly, anti-incumbency is plaguing all parties. In all, 43.6 per cent of voters said they would not re-elect their present MLA; only 30 per cent would re-elect the sitting MLA.