On-again, off-again alliances cast shadow on Assam oppn poll pact for 2024

The non-BJP opposition parties in Assam forged an abortive alliance in last years March-April state Assembly polls and again in the by-elections in October. But they are yet to make up their minds about another possible alliance before the 2024 Lok Sabha polls.

The Congress-led ‘Mahajot’, a grand alliance of 10 parties, miserably failed in the 2021 elections against the BJP-led three party alliance, which includes the Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) and the United People’s Party Liberal (UPPL).

Following the defeat in the Assembly elections, the Badruddin Ajmal-led All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF) and Hagrama Mohilary-led Bodoland People’s Front (BPF) walked out from ‘Mahajot’ and fielded separate candidates for the October 30, 2021, bypolls to five seats dividing the non-BJP votes.

According to political pundits, any kind of an occasional alliance among the parties does not make up any productive chemistry in the mindsets of the voters.

“If the electoral alliance between like minded parties form much before an election, then the common workers of the parties in particular and the people in general understand the efficacy of the poll deal,” political analyst Bijan Baruah told IANS.

“A genuine alliance of different parties can take forward the local, state level and national issues to the people. But if is forms just before the elections then the outcome of the coalition in most occasions does not yield expected results.”

According to the analyst, the Congress has several internal problems, including an indifferent attitude and mindset towards the state organisations’ pro-active works to beat the BJP or rival parties.

“These predicaments caused the party to lose in one election after the other, as well as alienation from the common people,” Baruah observed.

Since last year’s assembly polls, the main opposition Congress in Assam is yet to get the solid support from the Lurinjyoti Gogoi-led Asom Jatiya Parishad (AJP) and the Raijor Dal headed by Akhil Gogoi.

The AJP, Raijor Dal and AIUDF have reasonable support bases in different parts of Assam, specially among the indigenous people, tea tribes and Muslims, who play vital roles in the state’s electoral politics.

Speaking to IANS, political commentator and writer Sushanta Talukdar said: “Both the BJP and Congress have high stakes in Assam’s politics. But it is too early before the 2024 Lok Sabha polls about the permutation and combination of the fast changing electoral politics.

“The Congress might be trying to consolidate its position in the northeast on its own but reality shows that it has to take the support of the other non-BJP parties, specially the local ones.”

Talukdar, also is also the editor of multilingual online portal ‘Nezine’, said that the non-BJP parties’ joint programmes and agitations from now onwards can get them a dividend in the 2024 polls but such serious efforts not yet visible now.

Assam has more than 10 lakh tea garden workers in the organised sector working in 850 tea estates. They play a crucial role both in the politics and in the electoral battle.

According to the 2011 Census, Muslims account for 34.22 per cent of the state’s population, while Hindus and other religions make up for for the rest of the 3.12 crore people in Assam.

Of the 126 Assembly seats, religious minorities decide the electoral fate of 23, mostly in western and southern Assam and also play a crucial role in about seven more.

Of Assam’s 34 districts, 12 per cent or more Muslims reside in 19.

Muslims are a majority in the districts of Dhubri (79.67), Barpeta (70.74 per cent), Darrang (64.34 per cent), Hailakandi (60.31 per cent), Goalpara (57.52 per cent) and Bongaigaon (50.22 per cent).

Over four million population, mostly Bengali speaking, reside in the Barak Valley’s Cachar, Karimganj and Hailakandi districts.

(Sujit Chakraborty can be contacted at sujit.c@ians.in)

20220702-130003

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