Go­goi’s Win­ning For­mula

India Today - - COVER STORY -

Erst­while All In­dia Congress Pres­i­dent De­bakanta Barua once fa­mously told Indira Gandhi that the “Alis ( mi­grant Mus­lims) and coolies ( mi­grant tea es­tate work­ers)” would al­ways keep the party in power in As­sam. Years later, in 2006, Tarun Go­goi de­cided to al­ter the equa­tion. Short of a ma­jor­ity af­ter the As­sam Assem­bly elec­tions in 2006, he opted to join hands with 11 in­de­pen­dent Bodo leg­is­la­tors rather than Aj­mal’s AIUDF, which had won 10 seats. “Who is Badrud­din Aj­mal?” Go­goi had un­gra­ciously re­torted when asked about an al­liance with AIUDF. Many viewed his move as po­lit­i­cally as­tute. Be­sides push­ing the de­mand for a sep­a­rate Bodoland to the back­burner, Go­goi also earned good­will in tribal- dom­i­nated ar­eas.

Re­in­forc­ing this po­si­tion ahead of the 2011 polls, he ad­vo­cated refugee sta­tus for Bangladeshi Hindu im­mi­grants, win­ning wide sup­port amid the two mil­lion Ben­gali Hindu vot­ers. The gam­ble paid off, with the Congress win­ning an un­prece­dented 78 Assem­bly

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