Guwahati: Union Home Minister Amit Shah in Assam promised a social transformation in the state’s villages by reviving the Bhakti movement. Shri Amit Shah has said that the ‘Bhakti movement’ linked to state’s traditional Vaishnavite practice can play a part in forcing youths to give up arms. The BJP has set an ambitious target of 100 plus seats in 126-member Assam Assembly.
For a generally peace-loving people of Assam, insurgency and violence have become part of the state’s culture, especially since mid-eighties after Assam Accord was signed in 1985 and regional outfit AGP had come to power.
On a two-day crucial visit to Assam, which goes to polls in April-May of 2021, Shah said the BJP is keen to help revive the Bhakti movement so that state’s younger generation is encouraged to shun violence. In order to help revive the Bhakti movement associated with Vaishnavite monasteries, Shah said the Sarbananda Sonowal government in the state is extending the financial grant of Rs 2.5 lakh each to about 8000 Namghars (similar to prayer houses).
Shah’s visit to Assam comes within days the BJP state executive held a conclave in Bengali Muslim stronghold Karimganj. The state is already in election mode as BJP along with its alliance partners recorded a crucial win in the Bodo Territorial Council polls.
The success of BJP to wrest power in BTC is crucial as the Bodo tribe held region sends as many as 12 seats to the state assembly. North-East Democratic Alliance convener and Assam Finance minister Himanta Biswa Sarma told the party delegates at Karimganj meet that the BJP winning nine seats in the territorial council is important and has a political significance.
Sarma and other BJP leaders say the party’s win in BTC has ensured the saffron party’s win in 2021. The BJP had failed to win a single seat in the BTC in 2016 but now recorded a massive improvement in performance.
The executive meeting of state BJP leaders and Amit Shah’s visit took stock of the party’s preparations for the Assembly elections.
In Hailakandi, another Bengali Muslim stronghold district near Silchar, the BJP is eyeing three assembly seats. At present these seats – Hailakandi, Algapur and Katlicherra are with the pro-minority party All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF). However, renewed efforts by the BJP to make penetration in this region is already finding some takers among Muslims.
Local politician Amzadul Hussain Mazumdar is among those who is keen for BJP ticket from one of the three seats. According to local BJP leaders , Mazumder last week addressed a group of Muslim leaders and common people at a mosque at Hailakandi and tried to drive home the point that both the Congress and AIUDF are only being self seeking and trying to exploit Muslims.
He also said while there has been no communal riot under Sonowal government in last four and half years; people of Assam know how Nellie massacre took place in 1980s when the Congress was in power.
Other related developments too suggest that all stakeholders are gearing up for the elections. Recently, Congress suffered defection in its camp as for Pradesh Congress spokeswoman Kamal Medhi joined newly floated Raijor Dol which is essentially run by influential farmers’ body – the Krishak Mukti Sangram Sanity.
For its part, the ruling BJP is also eyeing some prominent faces to join. “….. In next 2-3 months, you will see certain prominent faces join BJP,” said BJP national vice president and in charge of Assam affairs Baijayant Jay Panda. Meanwhile, senior Congress leader and a prominent face in the erstwhile Tarun Gogoi ministry, Ajanta Neog was expelled by Congress. Ms Neog recently met Chief Minister Sonowal sparking off speculation about her future political moves.