Assam Election Results: BJP’s Development Plank Overrides Regionalism, CAA
This was the first election in the state after the fierce protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) law rocked the state in 2019. Though it was believed that the contentious act will play a major factor in the state’s assembly elections, the pro-CAA camp led by BJP is all set to return to Assam with a thumping majority, riding on the planks of development, beneficiary politics and religious polarisation that seem to have effectively negated the anti-BJP camp’s high spirited campaigning built around CAA.
The CAA, notified in 2019, made undocumented non-Muslim migrants from Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Pakistan eligible for Indian citizenship. Across the country as well as in Assam, protests broke out against the law, seen as an assault on secular values inscribed in the Constitution.
Taking the CAA as a major plank, even two new regional forces of Assam Jatiya Parishad (AJP) led by former All Assam Students’ Union (AASU) Lurinjyoti Gogoi and peasant leader Akhil Gogoi led Raijor Dal also incarnated in the state.
Opposition Congress too fought the state polls promising a fresh law to nullify CAA in the state. However, the Congress-led grand alliance too could not sustain the fight.
Lurinjyoti Gogoi though fought from two assembly constituencies of Duliajan and Naharkatia, lost in both the seats. However, Akhil Gogoi who contested as an independent candidate managed a win from the Sibsagar seat.
Though many political analysts predicted that CAA would play a major role in the state polls, the pro-CAA camp has managed to sweep the state polls. For BJP it was its development agenda that has overpowered all other factors as the people of the state according to the party now want rapid development.
Even prior to the polls, the BJP’s leaders repeatedly dismissed concerns that the CAA may cause the party to lose a significant number of votes.
On March 4, BJP Assam unit president Ranjeet Dass claimed that the massive protests against the CAA in the state would not make any political difference in the Assembly elections and that his party would trounce the Congress-led alliance easily.
Union Defence minister Rajnath Singh said, “The pro-people policies of Prime Minister Narendra Modi led Central government and the state government under Sarbananda Sonowal have once again helped the BJP in winning assembly elections in Assam. Congratulations to PM Modi, CM Sonowal, Adhyaksh JP Nadda and karyakartas on BJP’s impressive victory in Assam.”
Development of North Eastern Region (DoNER) minister Jitendra Singh said, “I thank the people of Assam from the bottom of my heart for having reposed faith in BJP and voted in support from across all the sections to give a second term with a spectacular decisive mandate.”
Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal thanked the PM for the victory and posted a video of a speech of PM Modi saying that BJP’s success mantra was to do equal development of all areas and sections of the state. : “A victory for Barak-Brahmaputra, Hills & Plains. Thank you Hon’ble PM Shri @narendramodi ji.”
However, on April 2, Sarma said that the BJP had “encouraged the formation” of Assam Jatiya Parishad and the Raijor Dal to split the anti-CAA votes.