Lok Sabha Elections 2024: With rise and fall of regional parties, Assam sees shift in politics prior to '26 Assembly polls

AGP, an ally of the ruling BJP since 2016, won a Lok Sabha seat after 20 years while Badruddin Ajmal-led AIUDF lost in all the Lok Sabha seats it contested since its birth nearly two decades ago.
Last Updated : 07 June 2024, 13:17 IST
Last Updated : 07 June 2024, 13:17 IST

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Guwahati: The Lok Sabha elections resulted in the rise and fall of two important regional political forces in Assam— the Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) and All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF). This could lead to a shift in politics in the run up to the Assembly polls scheduled in 2026. 

AGP, an ally of the ruling BJP since 2016, won a Lok Sabha seat after 20 years while Badruddin Ajmal-led AIUDF lost in all seats it contested since its birth nearly two decades ago.

AGP candidate and eight-time MLA from Bongaigaon, Phani Bhusan Choudury defeated his Congress rival Deep Bayan by more than 2.22 lakh votes in Barpeta Lok Sabha seat.

Barpeta, which was a Congress bastion due to Muslim voters' dominance, was turned into Hindu-majortiy constituency through delimitation exercise last year, helping AGP-BJP candidate to win the seat for the first time.

Congress retained Nagaon and snatched Dhubri seat from Ajmal after 15-years. Congress came second in Karimganj, another Muslim-dominant seat, where it lost to BJP by a margin of only 18,300 votes. 

AIUDF's defeat in all the Muslim-majority constituencies, according to political observers, suggested consolidation of Muslim votes in favour of Congress and growing discontentment of the Muslim voters (more than 30 per cent) towards AIUDF.

"Ajmal sahab was elected thrice in a row from Dhubri but he has failed to protect the interests of the Muslims during crises like the NRC exercise and the eviction drives carried out by the BJP-led government in the state. He only used his political clout to prosper in his business. Muslims have now realised that Congress can only strongly safeguard them and so they voted for Congress so overwhelmingly after many elections," Mustak Rabbani, a student leader in Dhubri, sharing a border with Bangladesh, told Deccan Herald

Ajmal had founded AIUDF in 2005 with a promise to provide the Muslims a "political platform" after the Illegal Migrants (Determination by Tribunals) Act 1983 (IMDT), an act which provided a shield to suspected illegal migrants from Bangladesh, was struck down by the Supreme Court.

AIUDF's political fortune brightened gradually and had even won three Lok Sabha seats in 2014 and emerged as the second largest party (after Congress) in the Assembly in 2011.

AGP, which came into being after the six-year-long anti-foreigners movement (1979-1985) and was in power twice (1985-1990 and 1996-2000), however, started losing its ground. 

AGP's future looked bleak till it joined hands with BJP ahead of Assembly elections in 2016. The party won nine Assembly seats (in the House of 126) as per the pre-poll alliance in 2021 and became a partner in the BJP-led government for the second straight term.  

The Lok Sabha poll results, according to political observers, suggest a shift in the state politics ahead of Assembly elections in 2026.

BJP leaders say that the result suggests that the saffron party saved AGP from being irrelevant while it ended AIUDF's political journey, mainly through delimitation. This shift could encourage BJP to play the polarisation card more vocally to remain in power for the third straight term in 2026. A day after the Lok Sabha poll results, CM Himanta Biswa Sarma provided a hint in that direction saying Muslims voted for Congress while the vote share suggested that BJP was safe in at least 93 Assembly constituencies (where Hindus arre dominant).

Vikash Tripathi, a teacher of political science in Gauhati University, however, said polarisation may not be a major weapon for the ruling party in 2026 polls given AIUDF's downfall in the state politics. 

"The fight in 2026 will be in Upper Assam constituencies having indigenous communities, where BJP did very well in 2021 Assembly polls. Congress will try to get maximum milegaue out of Gaurav Gogoi's victory in Joraht Lok Sabha seat in Upper Assam and keep the momentum going till 2026," he said. 

Lok Sabha Election 2024 results | Check all constituency results here

Odisha Assembly poll 2024 results| Check constituency results here

Andhra Pradesh Assembly poll 2024 results | Check constituency results here

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Published 07 June 2024, 13:17 IST

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