With the assembly elections in Assam due in 2021, the political temperature in the state has gained its momentum. 2020 for that matter has been a politically eventful year with protests and lockdowns both having its fair share in moulding the electoral minds. The year which started with mass protests against Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) also saw the formation of various regional political parties by its second half. Based on mostly anti-CAA views the new parties include journalist and Rajya Sabha MP Ajit Bhuyan’s – Aanchalik Gana Morcha (AGM), Assam Jatiya Parishad (AJP) launched by All Assam Students’ Union (AASU) and Asom Jatiyatabadi Yuva Chatra Parishad (AJYCP) and Raijor Dal of Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti (KMSS).
Though Ajit Bhuyan is a celebrated journalist from the state, his party’s viability is still in the shadows. History stands proof that in electoral politics, influential names are not enough to garner votes. Rather, a political party needs organisational back-up in the ground which Bhuyan’s new party lacks. Also, going by the past voting trends, people generally do not vote in large numbers for parties that prop up just ahead of elections. And hence it can be said that not only Bhuyan’s party but the parties launched by AASU, AJYCP and KMSS too, face the same problems — the question of electoral survival in the state. However, unlike AGM that has no organisational support in the ground, AJP is backed by two major influential non-political organisations in the state. Not to forget that they were also in the forefront during the anti-CAA agitations in the state early this year.
Now if we talk about the agenda, then it is very clear that the main aim of these anti-CAA regional parties is to dislodge the BJP government of the state in the upcoming assembly elections. Despite this, these parties are still not on the same page in terms of alliance. While AGM has agreed to be a part of the Congress-led grand alliance which includes the Left parties and AIUDF, AJP and Raijor Dal are not eager to be part of a Congress led alliance. Not to forget that AASU aided by other regional organisations had launched agitations against the Congress party back in the 1980s that led to the signing of the historic Assam Accord in 1985 with the government of India and subsequently forming of the Assam Gana Parishad (AGP) by the then AASU. Later, in the elections held in 1985, the AGP defeated Congress and formed the government – the first by a regional party. Another fact is that people also realise that CAA is a national act passed by the parliament of the country. So, to make any required changes in the law, national parties would be a better option than the regional parties of the state which leaves them with mainly two options: either to go with BJP or with Congress led grand alliance. Hence, the battle in the upcoming assembly polls will mainly be between the BJP led NDA and the Congress led grand alliance, where the new regional parties may find little to no electoral space.