As­sam De­cides 2016

The Economic Times - - Pure Politics - Bikash.Singh@ times­group.com

Na­gaon/Bar­peta/Dhubri: Twenty-three of 61 assem­bly con­stituen­cies in the sec­ond phase are Mus­lim-dom­i­nated. BJP’s shrill poll cam­paign on ‘pro­tect­ing As­samese iden­tity from in­flux from Bangladeshis’ is likely to im­pact the sec­ond phase. Mus­lim vot­ers in cen­tral, lower and western As­sam are ex­pected to go for the Congress and the All In­dia United Demo­cratic Front.

BJP is con­test­ing only 36 seats in this phase. How­ever, its al­lies Asom Gana Par­ishad and Bodoland Peo­ples Front have a ma­jor stake, con­test­ing the ream­ing 25. AIUDF had in 2011 won 17 seats here. As­sam has around 34% Mus­lims. Po­lit­i­cal an­a­lyst are of the view that the Congress has made a grand come­back in mi­nor­ity belts. “In Mus­lim-dom­i­nated Bar­peta, the Congress has made a come­back af­ter los­ing the Lok Sabha seat to AIUDF. Congress has good or­gan­i­sa­tion base here and in the last one year it has ag­gres­sively cam­paigned in the area.”

Sar­taz Ali a voter in Dhubri said, “We will vote for ei­ther AIUDF or Congress, de­pend­ing on which can­di­date is ca­pa­ble of win­ning. In Dhubri, the Congress may not do well and AIUDF may get ma­jor seats.”

Po­lit­i­cal an­a­lyst Haider Hus­sain told ET, “across the coun­try there is a feel­ing among mi­nori­ties that they need to strengthen Congress and the party can pro- tect them.” Prime Min­is­ter Naren­dra Modi on Fri­day ad­dressed pub­lic rally in mi­nor­ity-dom­i­nated Bar­peta where he spoke about his re­cent visit to Saudi Ara­bia. “I have re­cent vis­ited Saudi Ara­bia where Mecca is lo­cated” he had said though he was to later claim, “we do not do politics in the name of re­li­gion, caste, lan­guage and creed. We be­lieve in in­clu­sive devel­op­ment.”

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