GUWAHATI: Unlike the 2016 election, which revolved round PM Narendra Modi and his vow to free Assam of infiltrators, this year’s election concerned the identity of Assamese and indigenous people.
Most of Assam erupted in protests in December 2019, when the Centre passed the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill. Five people were killed and numerous others injured in the anti-CAA movement that sparked a chain reaction across the valley. Leading organisations like the All Assam Students’ Union (Aasu), Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti (KMSS) and Asam Sahitya Sabha expressed solidarity with the protesters.
While the saffron camp’s narrative for safeguarding indigenous identity was to resist the “aggression of migrant Muslims” of Bengali origin, ethnic organisations refused to buy the argument and switched to war mode to thwart the CAA.
But on Sunday, it was BJP’s narrative that came out tops. “The people of Assam believed us,” said BJP spokesperson Rupam Goswami.
Aasu president Dipanka Kumar Nath said that rather than identity, BJP’s welfare schemes helped it sail through. “Perhaps the common voters felt relieved for the time being due to the numerous beneficiary schemes of the BJP-led government like free rice, direct cash transfer, two-wheelers for students and the promise of waiving microfinance loans,” Nath said.