Editorial

Faction-ridden alliances

By Nagaland Post | Publish Date: 8/21/2020 1:28:23 PM IST

 Congress in Assam has already kick-started its election campaign for the 2021 assembly election and has already declared formation of a ‘grand alliance’ of anti-BJP and secular forces. The Congress hopes be the early bird and win ‘big’ with 80 seats. In the 2016 assembly election to the 126-member house in Assam, the Congress under three-time chief minister Tarun Gogoi won 26 seats of 78 it held(one resigned and later contested and won on BJP ticket); the BJP won 60 over five it held; NDA ally, the AGP won 14 over 10 it held; Bodoland People’s Front(BPF) retained all 12 it held; while the All India United Democratic Front(AIUDF) of Badhruddin Ajmal won 13 of 18 it held. The current ruling NDA coalition in Assam-BJP,AGP and BPF- with 86 seats, will tested in the 2021 elections on its performances and pressing issues such as the Citizenship, NRC and illegal immigrants issues. New political parties could also emerge after the All Assam Students’ Union (AASU) and Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti (KMSS) - two leading forces of the anti-CAA movement - finalised plans to float political parties to contest the 2021 assembly polls. As of now, there could be three main contenders- NDA (BJP,AGP,BPF); Congress, AIUDF and the nascent AASU-KMSS. Over two crore voters will decide the fate of the alliances. The cracks within the Assam Congress seem to have widened following former chief minister Tarun Gogoi’s announcement that the party was ready for an alliance with the AIUDF ahead of the 2021 assembly elections. Several Congress leaders believe that the Hindu electorate across the state would vote against the party if the AIUDF is projected as a partner. Soon after the public announcement, senior functionaries, including leader of the Opposition Debabrata Saikia, veteran leader Pradyut Bordoloi, Bhupen Borah, Rana Goswami and Abdul Khaleque held a separate meeting in which they decided to send a formal request to the party high command, seeking change of APCC chief Rupin Bora. Even before 2019 Lok Sabha polls there were serious differences within the Congress over the party’s alleged “secret understanding” with the AIUDF. In 2006 Gogoi distanced Congress from AIUDF and joined hands with the BPF led by Hagrama Mohilary, which won ten seats. This strategy worked for the Congress, and Gogoi became chief minister for the third time in a row. BJP led alliance in Assam has set a target of winning 100 assembly seats in 2021 assembly. BJP is also not without its internal divisions with former Congress leader and Gogoi confidante and present finance minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, chief minister Sarabananda Sonowal and Speaker Ranjit Dass. BJP ally AGP is also hit by internal fissures over the CAA. Party members in Guwahati had demanded the resignation of party president Atul Bora, working president Keshab Mahanta and senior leader Phani Bhusan Choudhary for their tacit support to the BJP over the CAA. The AGP now has two factions- one led by Atul Bora and the other by former chief minister Prafulla Kumar Mahanta. The AASU which has been the backbone of AGP, has decided to pull out all its members from AGP and float its own party. The BPF is also unhappy with BJP and has decided to go it alone for the Bodoland Autonomous Council election. Internal divisions within alliances aside, the question is whether the pandemic will come in the way of holding elections in 2021.

Launched on December 3,1990. Nagaland Post is the first and highest circulated newspaper of Nagaland state. Nagaland Post is also the first newspaper in Nagaland to be published in multi-colour.

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