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BJP to focus on Assam in upcoming polls

india Updated: Jan 05, 2011 21:01 IST
Rahul Karmakar
Rahul Karmakar

The BJP national executive meeting scheduled in Guwahati the coming weekend has been designed as an ‘exhibition’ of scams under the UPA in contrast to 'shining saffron' ruled states. But the party’s top brass would be converging more to focus on Assam, its best bet among five poll bound states.

Assam, along with Kerala, Pondicherry, Tamil Nadu and West Bengal, will be going to polls by May, 2011. The BJP won 10 Assembly seats in the 2006 elections in Assam but has virtually no presence in the other states.

“With the forthcoming Assembly elections in five states, the national executive meeting is very important for us,” said BJP leader Vijay Goel in Guwahati on Wednesday. “During the meeting, we will hold two exhibitions – one to highlight the scams during the UPA regime and the other to underscore good governance in the BJP ruled states.”

Local party leaders were more matter of fact. “All our top leaders will converge to work out the poll strategy in Assam as well as the other states. We know that Assam offers us the best opportunity, and we want to do better than the last time,” said a senior leader of the BJP’s state unit.

The BJP had in 2006 won 10 of the 125 seats; Assam has a maximum of 126. The party had also won 10 seats in the 2001 polls besides winning four of the 14 Lok Sabha seats in 2009.

But unlike 2001 and 2006, this time around the BJP has no electoral alliance with the Asom Gana Parishad (AGP). The saffron party thinks the divorce with AGP could be a blessing in disguise and is thus eager to make its presence felt.

Consequently, the BJP has targeted the touchiest of issues in Assam – illegal Bangladeshi migrants – to capitalize on the fears of the indigenous people. It accordingly assigned the firebrand Varun Gandhi to take care of the party’s affairs in Assam.

“The Bangladeshi issue and the Congress tradition of pampering illegal migrants for votes will figure prominently in the national executive meeting. We have asked the Election Commission to delete the names of Bangladeshis from the electoral rolls while pointing out that Bangladeshi Hindus who migrated to Assam should get all their rights,” said BJP spokesman Pradip Thakuria.

The BJP wants Bangladeshi Hindus to be treated refugees who migrated to India to escape torture. Bangladeshi Muslims, for the party, are illegal migrants.

For other non-Congress parties including AGP, all migrants – Hindus or Muslims – who entered Assam after 25 March 1971 must return to Bangladesh.