ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Assam 2019: NDA Deepens Its Dominance

The 2019 elections, held against the backdrop of massive protests against the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016, were seen as a litmus test for the Bharatiya Janata Party in terms of retaining its base among the state’s indigenous communities that were bitterly opposed to the bill. The party’s success in neutralising opposition to the controversial bill amongst non-Muslims and diverting attention towards the increase in the percentage of Muslim population, marked a continuation of the trend witnessed in the 2016 assembly elections, when it managed to patch up a “rainbow coalition” with regionalist groups raising the issue of protection of land and identity from “illegal Bangladeshi Muslim migrants.”

The political dominance that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has enjoyed since 2014 in Assam remains a significant factor in giving the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) an edge over other parties in the Lok Sabha elections. The Lok Sabha elections to Assam held in 2019 seemed to represent continuity with the political consolidation of the BJP that was witnessed during the assembly elections held in 2016. The BJPs ability to craft a social coalition with the leadership of diverse ethnic groups and forge electoral alliances with prominent regional players like the Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) and the Bodoland Peoples Front (BPF) in 2016 proved to be a master stroke leading to the formation of the first ever BJP-led government in the state.

The major challenge during the Lok Sabha elections before the BJP in Assam was the perpetuation of the social base that had shifted to the party during the assembly elections of 2016. In part, it remained contingent upon the partys ability to keep intact its alliance with the AGP and BPF (Kalita 2019). The BJP could eventually retain its alliance with the AGP and BPF, preserving its newly attained regional character which helped to withhold the consolidation of the anti-BJP votes, while the opposition casted the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 20161 as the most significant issue, apart from projecting the failure of the BJP-led government at the centre on various fronts during the campaign (Hindu 2019).

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Published On : 20th Jan, 2024

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