When the BJP came to power in Assam for the first time in 2016 – a milestone for the party in the northeast, they did so by promising the people of the state that they will protect their jaati or community, maati or land and bheti or base.
With elections now just days away, the time has come to make promises anew and this time the ruling BJP has said its campaign theme is Suraksha, Samriddhi and Sanskriti – security, prosperity and the culture of the indigenous people.
The Congress has also intensified its campaign with a “5G” or 5-Guarantee Yatra, reaching out to voters with five poll promises.
Once seen as a party of the distant Hindi heartland, the BJP succeeded to take the form of a formidable political force in Assam by talking about the protection of the indigenous communities.
“Our track record is there for all to see. Assam has all through seen law and order disturbance, illegal infiltration. Since the BJP came to power, the Bodo accords have been signed, remaining rebels have laid down a large cache of arms. We are also helping develop the Assamese naamghars (prayer houses),” Baijayant Panda, the national vice president of the BJP in charge of the state, said.
The Congress, meanwhile, is marching ahead with its five guarantees – passing legislation to not allow the controversial Citizenship Amendment Act in Assam; providing five lakh government jobs, raising the daily wage of tea plantation workers to Rs 365 within 30 days of coming to power, free electricity up to 200 units per household and Rs 2,000 as monthly income support to all homemakers.
“After Assam Bachao Yatra, now we are going among people with our promises. Our promise is not like BJP jumlas. We are backing it with data and facts,” Pradyut Bordoloi, the Congress Lok Sabha MP from Nahaon, told NDTV.
Assam will vote for a new government in over three phases starting March 27 and results on May 2. The state is expected to see a spirited fight this time between the ruling BJP, battling resentment over issues like the centre’s new citizenship law, and the alliance between the Congress and AIUDF. Making it a three-cornered fight are a clutch of new parties born out of the agitation against the Citizenship Amendment Act.