Caste politics, often seen as a ‘mainland malaise’, has invaded Assam ahead of the assembly elections.
Pressure groups representing castes have linked support for political parties to accepting their demands of fielding “someone from our own”. Assam’s electoral politics is usually dominated by religious, linguistic and tribal affiliations besides indigenous versus migrants and ‘outsiders’ equations.
The Anushuchita Jati Parishad, an organisation of Scheduled Caste (SC) communities, has sought at least 10 of 126 seats from the Assam Pradesh Congress Committee (APCC).
Other caste-based bodies have likewise approached the Asom Gana Parishad and the BJP. It is argued that Sualkuchi (western Assam) needs a Tanti (weaver) candidate, Hajo (western Assam) needs a Malakar (gardener) and Jagiroad (central Assam) needs a Kaibartya (fishing community). “...Our focus is on the right person for the right seat,” said
APCC spokesperson Bichitra Choudhury.
Organisations representing OBCs want Mottock candidates in seven constituencies in eastern Assam. Ahoms, also OBC, and dominating in 34 constituencies have their own lists.
The minority cell of the APCC wants a third of 41 seats for underprivileged Muslims.