Bihar Election’s aftermath:Lessons for Assam
The recent defeat in Bihar for the BJP has implications not just nationally but also within the region .Assam which is the largest state in the region goes for elections early in 2016 and the BJP is hoping to open its account in the northeast for the first time since India became a republic and have a legitimate state government (If you discount the events in Arunachal in the late 90's and early 2000s)
But the defeat of the saffron brigade in Bihar may just be the dose of medicine the congress required in Assam,after their loss at the 2014 Lok Sabha elections (Congress won 3 out of the 14 seats) and more recently the Municipal elactions in the state.The loss of the Dima district council where a majority number of independents and Congress members switched over to the BJP amid allegations of horse tradings was also a source of worry for the Tarun Gogoi led government.
There are three things that BJP must be worried about and Congress will look to capitalise along with other regional players such as BPF,AGP and AIUDF.
Mahagathbhandan version 2.0
In Bihar Laloo,Nitish and Sonia Gandhi got together to counter the BJP which had decimated them just a year ago, this ensured that caste,religious,identity,community based votes were united and the arithmetic outplayed the BJP , which again will be banking in Assam like in Bihar on the Modi factor.A possible coalition between AIUDF,BPF and even AGP on certain planks will ensure that the votes will be consolidated as it happened in Bihar.However just like Bihar where Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi ensured that there was coalition between Nitish and Laloo Yadav- the same can be done in Delhi with regional players (And not in the state)
Social Network counter
Agreed that Twitter is not as big in Assam or even the Northeast , but other social media is quite active in the region.In Bihar Nitish Kumar out classed Narendra Modi using the PM former right hand person Prashant Kishor.The social media campaign #AskNitish where there was over 50-100 questions asked everyday by the common person touched a cord with the people within and outside Assam.
Illegal migrants and Bangladeshi agenda
The BJP has ensured that all hindus who were persecuted in Bangladesh have been given permanent citizenship in Assam,this will help them in the Barak Valley – The AGP and the Congress need to counter this by highlighting how much land was given away from the state to Bangladesh in the boundary land swap.Also the Asom identity card which AASU and AGP hold dearly can be yet again played as there is a feeling that most displaced Bangladeshi hindus continue to shun the Assamese culture and tradition.
Hemanta Biswa Sarma and his loyalists
HBS and 9 of his loyalist have crossed over to BJP and while many see the former 'Blue eyed boy' of Tarun Gogoi as an asset to BJP,the same cannot be said of the 9 MLA'S who have accompanied him to join the saffron party.Many BJP members harboured ambition of being a MLA from these very constituencies the 9 loyalists have come to join the BJP now.Ticket distribution now will be key as there are many clamouring for the Tickets but only a few can be accommodated.
Keeping Sadhvi's and Yogi's of the BJP under strict VERBAL control
Incidents where a BJP MLA from Barak Valley was arrested for inciting communal tension during eid indicate that there are certain elements in the party which are bent on capitalising on communal tension between communities .BJP also needs to understand that most people in Assam do not appreciate statements made along religious lines – the party will need to ensure that statements made by a few MP'S and leaders in the build up to the assam election need to be curtailed .Assam is not UP and that is key for the BJP to understand this .Seen in the Pic above is a tweet by union minister Rajiv Pratap Rudy which at best can be termed foolish and silly (Mistaking Google ads for an actual State Government's ad in a Pakistan website)
Who is the next Chief Minister of Assam?
So we all know that most likely Tarun Gogoi will be the face of the congress party in the election,AIUDF will project Ajmal – in the case of BJP there is confusion whether it will be Hemanta Biswa Sarma or Sarbananda Sonawal .In Bihar not projecting one singular leader from the BJP ensured that the only face for the post of Chief Minister remained Nitish Kumar.In Assam the BJP would be well advised to announce who will be their face for the next Chief Minister of the state.