The massive victory of the BJP in Assam has many lessons for all the political parties in Assam. A great majority of the voters are below the age of 40 and their worldview is large. They want growth, development and jobs, not caste politics, Akhil and Lurin’s brand of crony socialism, or Muslim appeasement of the AIUDF-Congress. Women seem to have voted largely for BJP as they felt that BJP would protect them and ensure respect and economic opportunities, not the uncertainty of the Congress.
There has been a consolidation of the Hindu vote too, driven by a perceived feeling of being ignored and being made second-class citizens in their own state as the other political parties who felt their salvation lay in wooing the Muslim Vote. Their false narrative of secularism is now largely being seen all over Assam as being anti-Hindu.
For all political parties in Assam, the message is loud and clear: with the youth being the majority, if you want to be politically relevant, the old tired ideas of caste, socialism, powertrain policies, false secularism, anti-Hindu tirade, minority appeasement and divide and rule social combinations no longer sell.
The Left doesn’t attract the Youth where there is nothing to be attracted to and is consigned to the dustbins of history, the Congress in terminal decline in a world of its own, the regional parties like the Raijor Dal and AJP reflect gloom and darkness as they are a carbon copy of Congress and the Left. Assam’s youthful electorates want growth, development and jobs. Election 2021 results have shown what the Youth wants.
The AIUDF-Congress combine canvassed on their old ideas of caste, Muslim votes and their love of Psuedo secularism. Corrupted and appeasement policies that the duo used. They projected the Five Guarantees as to the new dawn of Assam, but the electorate was not convinced of their bona fides. Of course, AIUDF played the same old Muslim card, retaining its committed voters, but betrayed the Hindu voters. The future won over the past, for the electorate was fed up of the past appeasement of the Muslims by the AIUDF-Congress. The BJP gave the hope of the establishment of Sanatani ethos and culture and won handsomely.
The pseudo-intellectuals of Assam once again created a negative narrative in their own image, reflecting their own biases and prejudices. They openly showed their hostility to the BJP and RSS. Instead of being objective and reporting on the change on the ground, they projected their own prejudiced views as that of the electorate. They were playing up the CAA issue, as if people were angry and upset, forgetting that the public saw it as a blow against the creation of a Muslim vote bank by Congress-AIUDF. Yes, the people were worried and confused but were confident that the BJP leadership won’t betray Assam!
CM Himanta Biswa Sarma carried the day in Assam through his personal charisma and his message of inclusive growth. He drew massive crowds who lapped up his every word, giving a massive 75 seats and more than 43% of the popular vote. This has been a personal triumph for him, overcoming the reverses of his support to CAA. Assam seems to have overcome the Anti-Delhi sentiments, to create a “New Assam”.
After the victory and taking charge as CM Himanta Biswa Sarma spoke about taking Assam to the top five states of our Nation built on high aspirations, where the youth, women and the poor have hope of change, of jobs, of growth. For CM Himanta Biswa Sarma this is certainly a vote of full confidence, possibly emboldening him for more radical reforms for Assam.
The priority for the new government is clear. Peace, Justice and development dominate the agenda. No appeasement but enforce the Rule of Law. Women and the poor should feel safe again. The massive push to create the human capital for this century. Challenges still remain but the new government has hit the gears to achieve and deliver what the people have been promised. Confidence reflects both in the government and the governed. “JAI AAI ASOM”
Gautam Sharma is the State Secretary, Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha, Assam Pradesh