Congress fails to hold its fortress in Assam

Congress fails to hold its fortress in Assam

The pan-India disaster that hit the Congress on Friday did not spare the party even in Assam – the north-eastern state which once seemed to be its most impregnable fortress. 

The Congress, which had won half of the 14 Lok Sabha seats from Assam in 2004 and 2009, ended up with just three this time. The BJP’s tally went up from four in 2009 to seven this year.

The saffron party’s vote-share went up from 16.21% in 2009 polls to 36.6% this year. The Congress vote percentage went down from 34.89% in the previous elections to 29.6% this time. The All India United Democratic Front, which was floated in the State about 10 years back and won a seat in 2009, continued to expand its base and scored three. The decline of Asom Gana Parishad continued and the once-formidable regional party failed to win any seat. The BJP eroded the AGP’s support-base of Assamese Hindus in Brahmaputra Valley.

The Congress lost its traditional “Ali and Kuli” (Muslims and tea plantation workers) vote-banks to the AIUDF and the BJP respectively.

Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi,  has been steadfastly claiming that the “Narendra Modi wave” would not work in Assam. “Modi's campaign was propaganda-oriented and his announcement that all Bangladeshis will be asked to leave the country was also a factor in the polls,” Gogoi said in Guwahati on Friday.

While, Assam was a disappointment for the Congress, there was some consolation for the Congress in other north eastern states as their candidates did well. In Arunachal Pradesh, Congress and the BJP shared honours winning one seat each. Ninong Ering of the Congress and Kiren Rijiju of the BJP were successful.  In Meghalaya, former Lok Sabha Speaker P A Sangma of the National Peoples Party and Vincent H Pala of the Congress won the elections.

The BJP also made a huge dent in the Congress’ support base among the tea plantation workers in eastern Assam, where Union ministers Pawan Singh Ghatowar and Rani Narah lost to BJP candidates Rameshwar Teli and Sarbananda Sonowal in Dibrugarh and Lakhimpur respectively.

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