BJP to go alone in Assam
On a feel-good high with Bhupen Hazarika's entry, and driven by 'feel-bad' for its old ally Asom Gana parishad, the BJP has decided to go it alone in Lok Sabha polls in Assam as well as Manipur.Updated: Mar 26, 2004 18:12 IST
On a feel-good high with Bhupen Hazarika's entry, and driven by 'feel-bad' for its old ally Asom Gana parishad, the BJP has decided to go it alone in Lok Sabha polls in Assam as well as Manipur.
The party decision, particularly about Assam, emanates from an in-house assessment that the AGP has become weak and outlived its utility, and that BJP should surge ahead and try and make the state polity bi-polar.
In fact, experts say, the triangularcontests between Congress, AGP and BJP would help the party more than straight ones.
The BJP of late has actually expanded its base there while the AGP's stock is low among the people.
A product of anti-foreigner agitation, the AGP has failed to deliver on its promise to evict Bangladeshi infiltrators.
In present scenario, even though Congress is tipped to win, they could get to the second slot by not aligning with the AGP.
BJP had won two of the 14 Lok Sabha seats and came in second behind Congress on nine others.
The AGP, on the other hand, had drawn a blank and came clolse to winning in only two constituencies.
The BJP high command had forged an alliance with the AGP in the 2001 assembly polls, ignoring opposition by "Union Minister of state" Bijoya Chakravorty and then state party president Rajendra Gohain.
In 2001 assembly polls, as per the predictions, the alliance proved disastrous for the BJP. It was allocated only 35 of the 126 seats and forced to put up 'friendly contests' with AGP in 15 others.
The incumbency factor, which was very intense against AGP Govt led by Prafulla Kumar Mahanta had worked against it and it ended up with barely eight seats.
BJP's growth in Assam
Starting as a party of Bengali Hindus, confined to certain pockets in Barak Valley, the BJP first attracted Brahmins from among the Assamese. As it strove to acquire a foothold in Brahmaputra Valley, the party made strenuous efforts to rope in the Ahom community. Gohain, the BJP Member of Parliament from Nagaon and an Ahom himself, was made the state president.
It hopes that its demand for repeal of the Illegal Immigrants Detection Tribunal Act and its recent crackdown on ULFA militants, the accord with Bodo militants, includsion of Bodo Language in the English Schedule and special development projects launched by Atal Government for North-East will work to the advantage of BJP.
As an Assamese cultural icon, the best known Assamese face in the world, will give the BJP the face it so desperately needs in Assam.
First Published: Mar 16, 2004 11:32 IST