BJP entered in Assam last year, by dethroning the Congress party that had been in the power for most of the time in the state since the Independence. Sarbananda Sonowal got to become the CM of Assam a year back after reducing the mark of Congress from 79 seats to just 26, out of 126 seats in Assam. BJP must thank the alliance of Asom Gana Parishad and Bodo People’s Front and also, the jump of Hemanta Biswa Sarma from Congress to BJP.
The Shift from Congress to BJP!
Assam has always been the Congress loving state since the Independence. No wonder that rise of any other party in the state has been tremendously hard. From the first provincial assembly in 1946, Congress had marked its roots deep in the state. Though Prafulla Kumar Mahanta from the party ‘Asom Gana Parishad’ came into the Power for two times between the years 1946-2016, yet Congress kept coming back to claim the throne. It had been the easy winning state for Congress, Tarun Gogoi made the hattrick and ruled the state for the longest duration, till the elections happened in the year 2016, and BJP made its first government in the state by shaking hands with Asom Gana Parishad and Bodoland’s People Front. Sarbananda Sonowal took the charge as the Chief Minister of Assam. Political Pundits could easily be heard saying that the political wave has changed the direction and now, it is acting in the favour of BJP.
Elections are going to happen next year in Meghalaya, Tripura, and Nagaland. BJP’s win in the state of Assam has surely boosted the spirit of the party, also, shifting the power from NPF to BJP led alliance in Nagaland this year, BJP seems confident of getting the driving seats in the remaining Northeastern states. Definitely, entry gate to Northeast is won! But the questions pope up, how would the present government tackle with the problem of illegal immigration, BODO’s unrest, ULFA, and unemployment? Let’s have a look at the issues and the take of previous governments.
Let’s Know About Assam
The Indian state of Assam, land of bamboos, tea and beautiful landscapes, is located in the country’s Northeast and shares its International borders with Bhutan and Bangladesh. According to the data provided by the provisional Indian census figures for the year 2011, Assam has got the population of over 31 million covering an area of 78,438 square kilometers (48,739 miles). Many indigenous tribes dwell in Assam, including the Bodos, who are one of the largest tribes in the state, claims more than 5% of the total population. The Bodos are primarily Hindus (90.31%), but also include a significant number of Christians (9.4%).
Assam is famous for its beautiful tea gardens, bamboo sculptures, Assamese silk sarees and folk songs. Assam holds at the peak to produce tea in India. Though the production is optimum still, the quality of lifestyle for the tea workers has not been changed since decades. The Government should focus to provide the better medical and education facilities to the workers in the state.
Immigration from Bangladesh and eventual rise of NDFB, ULFA, ACF
Assam has always been one of the most disturbed states in the country. From illegal migration to violence, Assam has seen it all. According to the reports provided by the former Governor of Assam, Let. Gen. Ajai Singh, almost 6000 Muslims from Bangladesh enter Assam every day, in search of better economic conditions. The political pundits say that it has happened because Congress Government has always been lenient on the issue. The illegal immigration has changed the state to the greater extent. The Bodo people’s unrest can be termed mainly because of the immigration from across the border. The Bodo people started realizing that the Government has failed at times to address the problems and to counter the problems, several terrorist organizations were formed in the 80’s. Among them, the Bodo Security Forces emerged out to be the most violent one. Their demand, to ensure the prosperity of the community, resulted in the demand for a separate state of Bodoland.
Though, the then Government tried to establish the peace within the state by signing the peace accord with All Bodo Students Union (ABSU) and Bodo People’s Action Committee (BPAC). But the peace accord was strongly opposed by the BdSF which, by this time, became National Democratic Front of Bodoland (NDFB). The NDFB carried out vicious attacks on the non-Bodo people.
To counter the attacks by the Bodo organizations, other tribes in the state formed the Armed Groups. One of them is Adivasi Cobra Force. The organization doesn’t have any political ideology like the other organizations prevail in Assam but to protect the Santhal tribes and likely to help the other tribes as well. The organization raised its arm when the ‘ethnic cleansing’ happened in the year 1996.
Then, there is United Liberation Front of Assam(ULFA). On 7th of April, 1979, a few young lads named Paresh Baruah, Arabinda Rajkhowa, Anup Chetia, Pradip Gogoi, Bhadreshwar Gohain and Budheswar Gogoi formed the base of ULFA in Shivsagar, Assam.
ULFA never considered Assam to be the part of this country. Initially, the youths along the Brahmaputra region were keenly interested to be the part of the group. The then generation found it to be the voice of the youth that needed to be liberated from the then so-called anarchist government. Later in the decade, people found out that the organization is extremely inclined to get the funds for ammunition. And killings became the daily dose of the newspapers. In the year 1990, Government of India announced it as the terrorist group.
Since then, the Army has been in the process to neutralize the activities across the state. GOI started the military offensives against it, named Operation Bajrang November 1990, Operation Rhino September 1991, Operation All Clear December 2003 and Operation Rhino 2 led by the Indian Army.
What we can estimate is, a generation in Assam has grown under the influence of violence in Assam. It’s not hard to get that there had been severe unrest among the people of Assam. To counter this, they rested their belief on the Party for decades and somehow, the Congress-led Government failed to fulfill the expectations of the people. The rise of NDFB, ULFA and others like ACF is clearly the sign of unrest among the ethnic people of Assam. The story boils down to one point, the rise in demands was because the ethnic groups started getting anxious and the Government couldn’t do anything but let them flourished, just to witness more killings in the state.
Bodo’s Stand on the illegal immigration
Bodo tribe is the largest tribe of Assam that constitutes almost 91% Hindu population along with almost 9% Christians. With the illegal immigration, the Bangladeshi Muslims started acquiring their lands and molded the system accordingly. Some claim that the illegal immigration from Bangladesh has been the kin issue of drugs in the state. The farmlands were being occupied by the people that were not the part of Assam and it started hindering the economic conditions of the Bodo Tribe. While we pay our heed to the latest reports, 11 out of 27 districts are being dominated by the Muslim population and the Muslim population claims 33% of the total population of Assam. Unfortunately, the unrest leads to the violent conflicts between the Bangladeshi Muslims and the Bodo tribe. Since the year 1980, there have been numerous cases of violence between the Bodos and Bangladeshi Muslims. The Recent incident happened in 2012 in BTAD districts of Kokrajhar, Chirang, and Dhubri where almost 40000 people were displaced and according to the data, 77 people lost their lives. Centre has been taking the steps to aid the people affected.
Failed to create the jobs in the state
The previous Governments had been so occupied over the rise and clashes of the ethnic groups that the basic requirements were largely neglected. When the IT revolution started spreading its wings in India, the Government couldn’t cash out on the opportunities. Not to mention, a few or no IT companies were established there. The Governments failed to ensure them the desired security and thus the youth of the state have got no other choice but to step out of the state.
Also, the Tourism in the state had been badly affected because of the terrorism. Despite having the cluster of beautiful and scenic places in the state, the Government couldn’t do much for the tourism. Still, a majority of the population seeks the earning through tourism. And the hope is higher with the present government.
With the Tea Estates, the previous governments have cashed out the opportunities of providing the jobs to the local people but the evolution in the technology is badly neglected. The living standard of the tea estate workers has not been changed since the decades. And to worsen it, the newer generation of the tea estate workers are falling into the same old pit of tea farming.
The people of Assam have voted for the BJP-led government and the hopes are high. The government has got the challenges and let’s just wish that the present CM would not follow the same path that hhasbeen followed by the CMs in the past.