After the Bill was passed in the Lok Sabha, Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) had left the BJP led government in Assam on January 8, but it has again come back to the BJP fold ally.
In the second part of the ‘RajNiti Elections 2019’ debate series, BTVI’s Executive Editor Siddharth Zarabi and panellists discuss the issues concerning Assam and the other states in the North-East region.
Out of 543 seats in Lok Sabha, 8 states of North East contribute 25.
If we take a look at the recent scenario in the region, BJP is gaining strength but several of its allies are opposed to the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016.
And, after the Bill was passed in the Lok Sabha, Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) had left the BJP led government in Assam on January 8, but it has again come back to the BJP fold and formed an alliance.
Though the Bill has lapsed, opinion is sharply divided among the people of the entire North-East region.
The Big Questions that have been discussed in the debate are -- What will be the impact of the now-lapsed Citizenship Bill on North-East vote? How will Muslims in Assam and North-East vote? Will Assam vote on traditional linguistic and religious lines?
With 24 data sets, this show presents to you, the most neutral and unbiased picture of North-East with special focus on the state of Assam.
BTVI analyses the results in the past elections
Partha Das, Psephologist, says out of the 25 seats, 14 seats are from Assam and 9 from the remaining 7 states. Giving details about the performance of the Congress and the BJP in 2009 and 2014 Lok Sabha elections in the region, the Partha Das says while the Congress tally dropped in 2014 compared with 2009 data, BJP improved its performance and gained more 4 seats in 2014 compared with 2009.
Here is the number of seats won by Congress, BJP and AGP in the North East region in 2009 and 2014. Look at the scenario:
Sujit Chakraborty, Senior Journalist, speaking on the past results and how the people might vote in the upcoming elections, says things have changed significantly in the last 5 years and more so in the last 2 years, stresses on the developmental work undertaken by the BJP in the region.
He says, “BJP with its coalition partners is in power in the Assembly in the entire region. BJP has differences with its allies but now it is a thing of the past. AGP has agreed to fight LS elections with BJP. In Tripura, it will win back its ally. In Manipur, also, it will work out. The PM visited the region 35 times in the last 5 years. Other ministers have also visited. Projects are underway. Roads and infrastructure work is in full swing.”
Sanjay Kumar, Election Analyst & Director, CSDS, speaking on how the region will vote in the upcoming elections, says BJP will improve its tally in 2019 elections compared with the seats they won in 2014, expects the party to take its tally to 15-16 seats.
“BJP will win 2 more seats in Tripura. In Assam, they might wrest 1 seat from AIUDF and 2 from Congress. It can gain 1 or 2 more seats from other states as well. I won’t be surprised if the party takes its seats to 15 or 16,” says Sanjay Kumar.
Not positive about BJP’s chances in Assam, Seema Guha, Senior Journalist, says there is lot of anger in the state over the Citizenship Bill, and also adds that AGP coming back to its fold won’t make any difference as the people are not happy with the ruling party.
On the AGP aligning with the BJP, she says,”AGP had no other option. They are bereft of funds. They don’t have money to organise themselves and give a fight to other parties as a regional party.”
AGP-BJP alliance just a political adjustment?
Amrita Madhukalya, Principal Correspondent, DNA, it is a fall from grace for AGP since it was the first party to have said a ‘no’ to the Citizenship Bill. She further says, “This step by the AGP to come back to BJP and form an alliance is just a greed act by them.”
Sujit Chakraborty adds that the BJP never clarified on the details and implications of the Bill to the people of the state and it resulted in agitations by the people.
Shantanu Guha Ray, Sepcial Editor, BTVI, speaking on whether it is too early to gauge the mood of the people says all parties including BJP and Congress have never looked as the region with a serious bent of mind.
He says, “The North East has always fallen off the national narrative. No political party has every looked at the region with a serious mind. The BJP picked up some leaders from the region, brought them to the Centre, in the hope that they will carry back some great agenda.This election will be a do or die for both Congress and BJP.”
Will the North East vote out of hope or frustration?
Bhawesh Jha, Director, CNX & Psephologist, says the picture was rosy for the BJP and NDA till November 2018.
“Till November 2018, it was like BJP and NDA will win at least 21 seats. But, the recent projections are that the NDA wil win 16 seats,” says Bhawesh Jha. Clarifying on reducing the number of seats for BJP in 2019, he says opposition to the BJP might come from Assam and Manipur, and does not consider AGP as a big factor in Assam, and is of the opinion that there are reservations among people over Citizenship Bill, but it is not election issue.
Bhawesh Jha further says, “Congress is doing great work at grassroot level. Their two big leaders are from Assam. They may ally with AIUDF.”
Here is how the vote share and seats tally of Independents, Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) and Bodoland People's Front (BOPF) looks in 2014 Lok Sabha elections in Assam:
Partha Das says all AGP votes got transferred to BJP in this 2014 election.
But, it was the BJP which approached AGP for alliance in 2016 Assam Assembly elections. And, BJP, AGP and Bodo People’s Front fought as an alliance.
This is how the 2016 Assembly election results picture looks like in Assam:
Partha Das says this was the best performance of the NDA alliance.
Partha Das also says the state government did not handle last year’s flood situation properly and Citizenship Bill added to its woes.
Seat Projection: 2014 Lok Sabha elections in Assam:
Sanjay Kumar says AIDUF managed to win 3 Lok Sabha seats only with vote share of 14%, points that Congress with a bigger vote share managed to win 3 seats.
Here is the demographics for Assam:
Partha Das says voting on religion, caste or language lines will decide the outcome of the election results.
Go through the voting pattern in Muslim dominated districts of Assam and the vote share of Congress and AIUDF in 2009 LS elections:
What can be predicted for Assam and North East?
How is Assam & North-East likely to vote? What coluld be the possible outcome in the state of Assam and in the North East in 2019:
Here is the data about seats projected for NDA and UPA before Citizenship Bill and after Citizenship Bill.
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