Silchar: The two day State Executive Committee meeting of BJP at Silchar followed by workers’ meet in Guwahati on July 4 has been considered as significant by the observers in the context of changing political scenario of Assam. The drubbing of Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) in the Guwahati Municipal Corporation elections and the rise of the BJP with its tally of 11 seats in the 31 member Corporation have no doubt come as a morale boost in the party camp.
This has also raised the relevant question—is BJP going to emerge as an alternative to Congress? Significantly, the party has four MPs in the Lok Sabha and five MLAs in the
Assembly. But, there are reasons enough for the leaders to be optimistic. In fact, Dr Rajnath Singh and Shri SS Ahluwalia, national president and vice-president of the party, as well as Shri Sarvananda Sonowal, state president, do see the possibility of BJP becoming a major challenge in the race to Delhi in 2014 and Dispur in the general elections of 2016.
Shri Rajnath Singh set the Assam unit on the course for the general elections at the workers’ meet in Guwahati and said the party flag was ready to be unfurled in New Delhi after the Lok Sabha elections. He said “Under Gogoi regime, Assam has become a breeding ground for rampant corruption. It was NDA that set up a separate ministry, Development of North-East Region (Doner), for the development of the region.
The failure of the AGP to spell out any specific policy on the most vexed issue of Bangladeshis, for which it was voted to power which has only assumed serious dimension, has given advantage to BJP. AGP like Congress has preferred to dilute the issue by being ambiguous on infiltrators and refugees. BJP, on the other hand, has taken a distinct and clear stand on the crucial problem.
On yet another most sensitive and emotive land swap deal with Bangladesh, BJP and its youth wing, Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha, have demonstrated their strongest resentment and protest by hoisting tri-colour on the lands in question in Karimganj and Dhubri sectors that the Government of Assam intends to handover to
Bangladesh, bypassing the Assembly and keeping the people in dark.
Another issue that the ruling Congress has offered on the platter of BJP is the fate of Hindu Bengali refugees from East Pakistan, now Bangladesh, despite specific legislation to protect them. The Immigrants (Expulsions from Assam) Act of 1950 that became effective with the annulment of the infamous IM(DT) Act of 1983 speaks of treating the Hindu Bengali as refugees, being victims of social and political unrest and religious persecution in that country. Chief Minister, Tarun Gogoi, during the poll campaign of 2011 Assembly elections in Barak Valley assured them of ratifying the Act of 1950 in consultation with the Centre for their protection. He is yet to act.
With these burning problems, the workers’ meet that the MPs, Kabindra Purkayastha, Bijoya Chakraborty, Rajen Gohain and Ramen Deka, frontline leaders, Rajnath Singh, SS Ahluwalia, Sarvananda Sonowal, Prashanta Phukan, CK Das and Ranjit Dutta among others addressed called for unity and solidarity to take the party ahead.
BJP received a shot in the arm with senior AGP leader, Atul Bora, joining its rank. Some other AGP leaders and a good number of workers are expected to swell the rank and file of the party. —Jyoti Lal Chaudhary