Setting the tone for next year’s Assembly polls, the Opposition parties in Assam have decided to hold joint protests against the Bharatiya Janata Party-led state government. The Opposition parties, including the Congress, All India United Democratic Front and the Left parties, have been inching towards forming a 'grand alliance' to present a united front against the ruling party.
As per reports, Assam Pradesh Congress Committee chief Ripun Bora had announced the decision of the Left parties, including the Communist Party of India and CPI (Marxist-Leninist), to join hands with the Congress following a meeting on October 15.
“More than pre-poll mahajot, we discussed and decided that all anti-BJP parties should come together to end the BJP’s misrule. We have decided to hold joint street protests, joint meetings, joint press meets with the Left against the BJP’s misrule and anti-people policies across the state. We will prepare a common protest schedule soon. The Left also agrees to the need for a mahajot. We will continue to hold such meetings to bring other anti-BJP parties together,” Bora had told reporters.
“The first of the joint news meets took place on October 20 and the first joint protest will take place after Durga Puja,” The Telegraph has reported.
A new regional entity Anchalik Gana Morcha (AGM) floated by Rajya Sabha member Ajit Kumar Bhuyan, who was supported by the Congress and the AIUDF, has also consented to be in the Opposition grouping.
On the other side, the newly formed Raijor Dal and the Assam Jatiya Parishad have so far expressed their decision to stay away from the opposition alliance, even though Congress has said that they are open to forming a united alliance against the “misrule” of the BJP government. The Raijor Dal, backed by the peasant leader Akhil Gogoi’s Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti, has been joined 70 other ethnic organisations which had participated in anti Citizenship Amendment Act protests in the state. The AJP has been launched jointly by the All Assam Students’ Union and Asom Jatiyatabadi Yuba Chhatra Parishad, two of the largest and most influential students and youth organisations in the state.
Meanwhile, the ruling BJP has launched a polarising campaign in response to the formation of opposition alliances. After Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal had called upon the indigenous communities and genuine Indians to stand united against “Mughal aggression”, the state’s Finance Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma went after people who believed in the “culture and civilisation” of Maulana Badruddin Ajmal, who is a Lok Sabha member and chief of AIUDF.
Talking about the need for a united alliance, the APCC chief further told reporters that Opposition forces have to unite and expose the BJP’s game plan of polarising voters and the alleged scams taking place under the ruling dispensation, while referring to the senior BJP leaders’ bid to fan passion by projecting the 2021 polls as a “clash” of civilisations and cultures, the “imposition” of Arabic, the “continued” invasion of Mughals and “closure” of government-run madrasas from November, as reported by The Telegraph.
“The BJP is trying to polarise voters along the Hindu-Muslim line and to distort or rewrite history. We will have to unite to counter this narrative. Muslims too have contributed towards building India and Assam. We will continue to oppose the unconstitutional CAA,” Bora had added.
The election to the 126-member Assam Assembly is likely to be held in March-April next year. The 2016 elections gave a fractured mandate and no party has got absolute majority.
In the current House, the BJP is the single largest party with 60 MLAs, while its allies Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) and Bodoland Peoples Front (BPF) have 14 and 12 lawmakers, respectively. The ruling coalition also has the support of an Independent MLA.
The Congress has 23 MLAs, while the AIUDF has 14 members.