Saturday, Oct 01, 2022
Outlook.com
Assam

Brahmaputra’s Undertow

BJP pushes for two-in-a-row. Congress, new regional parties hope to cash in on anti-CAA sentiments.

Brahmaputra’s Undertow
Photograph by Surajit Sharma
Himanta Biswa Sarma on his way to file his nomination
Brahmaputra’s Undertow
outlookindia.com
2021-03-19T13:37:03+05:30

Curious things happen in politics—stranger than leaders switching sides to embrace ideologically opposite parties. But Golaghat constituency in Assam presents a picture bordering on the bizarre. MLA Ajanta Neog is the BJP candidate for the seat and she is up against a familiar foe, Bitopan Saikia of the Congress. That is not the story. In 2016, Neog was the Congress candidate and Saikia was with the BJP. Neog joined the BJP recently and was named the Golaghat candidate. A miffed Saikia found a new home in the Congress. Golaghat is a sub-plot in the unfolding theatre in Assam—Elections 2021. But it gives an idea about the political churning: the ruling BJP is luring ‘winnable’ leaders while opposition parties are hedging their bet on ‘discards’. Even that is not the entire story. Five years after winning Assam—a traditional Congress stronghold—for the first time, the BJP is facing a bigger challenge than it would admit. The Congress-led alliance of eight parties, including the All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF), actually fancies its chances of wresting power on May 2, when votes will be counted. Elections to the 126-member assembly will be held in three phases—March 27 and April 1 and 6.

Minister and master strategist Himanta Biswa Sarma—whom many consider to be the power behind the throne of chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal—has cited a single possibility for the BJP-led alliance of Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) and United Peoples Party Liberal (UPPL): 100+ seats. Sarma’s calculations have rarely gone wrong, even when he was a Congress minister till before the 2016 assembly polls. It’s not for nothing that the BJP’s central leadership has reposed its faith in Sarma. Even if it means dumping the Bodo People’s Front (BPF) ahead of the polls to find a new ally in the UPPL, another party with a Bodo base.

Outlook Newsletters

Read More from Outlook

Lament Of Separation: Songs Of Habba Khatun, Last Queen Of Kashmir, Still Echo In Valley

Lament Of Separation: Songs Of Habba Khatun, Last Queen Of Kashmir, Still Echo In Valley

In happy times and sad, Habba Khatun’s sensuous songs make both young and old emotional. With the never-ending conflict bringing tragedies to every doorstep, Habba’s lyrics of separation amplify their mourning.

How Indian Laws Govern People’s Right To Love And Live

How Indian Laws Govern People’s Right To Love And Live

In India, only those relationships between a man and a woman are considered to be legitimate when there is a marriage between the two.

Kohli Quits Test Captaincy, Leaves Leadership Vacuum

Kohli Quits Test Captaincy, Leaves Leadership Vacuum

Virat Kohli, 33, had recently stepped down as India's T20I captain and was subsequently removed as the ODI captain.

UP Elections 2022: How Congress Is Harnessing Power Of 'Persecuted' Women To Counter BJP

UP Elections 2022: How Congress Is Harnessing Power Of 'Persecuted' Women To Counter BJP

A Mahila Congress leader, who is the face of the ‘Ladki Hoon, Lad Sakti Hoon’ campaign, however, has accused the party of anti-women bias after she was denied a ticket.