Political wheels in Assam are turned on BMW. Before you think German auto giant Bayerische Motoren Werke, BMW is a local abbreviation for blanket-money-wine. In the run-up to the two-phase polls, bicycles have stolen a march over the traditional BMW lure.
Last week, more than 1,500 bicycles were seized in Nagaon district. Bicycles, procured under a scheme for schoolgirls, were also seized from educational institutions in Sualkuchi, Morigaon and Assam’s Tingkhang constituencies.
Hand-pumps too have reportedly become poll bait in sandbars inhabited by migrant Muslims. The police in Dhing area seized a dozen hand-pumps on Saturday from the house of a Congress leader.
“Luring voters has been an old Congress habit,” said Asom Gana Parishad president Chandra Mohan Patowary. An Assam Pradesh Congress Committee spokesperson rubbished charges.“Material was seized because the announcement of polls prevented their distribution,” he said.
But, the BMW hasn’t been discarded. The AGP has accused Congress legislator Rana Goswami of distributing blankets. The Bodoland People’s Progressive Front has charged minister Rihon Daimary of doling out money to religious institutions in Udalguri seat.
Assam chief electoral officer Hemanta Narzary said strict action would be initiated against model code violators.