The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Assam is campaigning aggressively to retain power. The saffron party won for the first time here in 2016 by dethroning the Congress. It was also the party's first win in any northeastern state. The party has set a target of winning 100 plus seats in the 126-member House this election. The BJP is contesting elections in an alliance with the Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) and the United People's Party Liberal (UPPL). As per the seat-sharing pact, the BJP will field candidates from 92 seats while the AGP and UPPL will enter the fray from 26 and 8 seats. Senior BJP leaders including Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal, his deputy Himanta Biswa Sarma, BJP in-charge for state Jay Panda and central leaders have already began whirlwind campaign to highlight the government's achievements in the last five years.
The outcome of the Assam polls which will have an impact on the entire Northeast, will be a big test for the BJP which is expecting to continue making gains through the Modi government's "east policy".
The key issues this election season include Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), National Register of Citizens (NRC), tea garden workers, rising fuel prices, unemployment and others. The CAA which was passed in 2019 has been the biggest sticking point for the party. The party has been trying to reach out to the people over the CAA. Leaders are seen explaining to the public that the party is not against any community or Assamese people, but the Congress and other parties are attacking the government and have made the CAA the core issue this election season.
The BJP is also facing opposition's barb over the implementation of Clause 6 of the Assam Accord. The issue was one of the poll promises that made the BJP win in 2016.
The Congress-led alliance comprises AIUDF, CPI, CPI (M), CPI (ML), Anchalik Gana Morcha and Bodoland People's Front (BPF). The BPF was a NDA constituent. But it quit the alliance and sided with the opposition front.
Turning the Assam polls into a three-way battle is an alliance of two regional parties -- the Assam Jatiya Parishad (AJP) and Raijor Dol. The AJP was floated by former members of All Assam Students' Union (AASU) and other civil society groups. The Raijor Dol was formed by the supporters of noted activist Akhil Gogoi who is in jail in connection with a sedition case. Both the parties were born out of the anti-CAA protests in Assam.
As per the schedule announced by the Election Commission of India, the Assembly election is scheduled to be held in the northeastern from March 27 to April 6 in three phases. The first phase on March 27 will cover 47 seats. The second phase on April 1 will cover 39 seats and the third phase on April 6 will cover 40 seats. Results will be declared on May 2. The tenure of the 126 members House will expire on May 31.
In the previous elections held in 2016, the BJP-led had secured 80 seats. The Congress won 26 seats. The party ruled the states since 2001 under the leadership of Tarun Gogoi. The AIUDF of Badruddin Ajmal had pocketed 13 seats.
Assam polls 2021: BJP, Congress, AIUDF full list of candidates
|Jalukbari||Himanta Biswa Sarma|
|Patacharkuchi||Ranjeet Kumar Das|
|Barchalla||Ganesh Kumar Limbu|
|Rangapara||Krishna Kamal Tanti|
|Dhing||Sanji Kumar Bora|
|Jorhat||Hitendra Nath Goswami|
|Dhakuakhana||Naba Kumar Doley|
|Karimganj North||Manas Das|
|Sonai||Aminul Haque Laskar|
|Udharbond||Mihir Kanti Shome|
|Dipuh||Bidya Sing Engleng|
|Baithalangso||Roop Sing Teran|
|Nalbari||Jayanta Malla Barua|
|Laharighat||Kadiru Jjaman Zinnah|
|Doom Dooma||Rupesh Gowala|