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Congress on a winning gear confident of winning over 100 seats in Assam

IndiaCongress on a winning gear confident of winning over 100 seats in Assam

According to Debabrata Saikia, Leader of the opposition in Assam, MLA from Nazira Constituency, he said, “If surveys have finally begun to acknowledge who’s ahead in this election, it is because the people are responding positively to the Congress guarantees on jobs, free electricity, income support for housewives, anti-CAA law and Rs 365 wage for tea workers.”

While Congress ties up with 5 parties in Assam, the doors are still open to welcome more secular parties in the alliance so that the Opposition votes do not get divided, said Ripun Bora.

The powerful knot with Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel, who is in Assam on a three-day visit will strengthen the cadre for Congress candidates.  He criticized the ruling BJP today for its alleged failure to fulfill promises and was confident that his party will win more than 100 seats in the 126-member Assembly.

Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel has been camping in poll-bound Assam with his team from Raipur in a strategy to help duplicate Congress’s success in the 2018 Chhattisgarh elections through effective poll management up to the booth level.  Baghel’s team has been involved in strategizing for the polls with local leaders and has helped the local leadership to develop a booth-level strategy.

Congress leader Shailesh Nitin Trivedi, who has been to Assam, said over 100 Congress workers and leaders from Chhattisgarh have visited the poll-bound state in the last two months.

One leader said, “We are replicating the Chhattisgarh model where the party had a different strategy for each booth depending on local issues,” The leader added a team of 55 trainers from Chhattisgarh that has covered about 115 constituencies of Assam for the first phase of training to booth-level workers. The second phase of training has recently started.

Requesting anonymity, one strategist in Baghel’s team said, “The aim is to mobilize the voters at the booth-level. The workers are given the training to identify Congress supporters in their area, about voters’ lists and other important aspects.”

Congress’s Chhattisgarh lawmaker Vikas Upadhyay has been in Assam for over three months and Baghel’s advisors Vinod Verma, Ruchir Garg, and Rajesh Tiwari for about 45 days, said a second leader.

Baghel is considered close to Rahul Gandhi. Another aide of Gandhi, former Union minister Jitender Singh, is the party’s Assam in-charge. “It is clear that Rahul has shown faith in his close confidantes [Baghel and Singh] to deliver Assam for the party,” said a third Congress leader in Delhi, requesting anonymity.

Bhupesh Baghel said confidently that Congress will bag over 100 seats in the 126-member Assam assembly stating, “People of Assam vested a lot of faith in the BJP, but they wasted five precious years.”  “Prime Minister Narendra Modi promised that they would seal the Bangladesh border. However, the issue of cow-smuggling and undocumented Bangladeshis is just the same. Hence, people have faith in Congress, and we had delivered in the past also.”

Baghel stressed the importance for the party to establish proper coordination with the ground-level workers for the victory. Party leaders said Baghel has ensured that people from all castes are there in the booth level committees to deliver the message that Congress is for all in Assam and to counter the BJP’s polarization agenda, another leader said.

Party leaders said a large number of Chhattisgarhi people migrated to Assam in 1890 and 1900 and were working mostly in tea gardens. Chhattisgarh minister Amarjit Bhagat, who is fluent in Kuduk, the language of tea-workers from Chhattisgarh has been living in upper Assam to reach out to them

Upadhayay said Congress has an edge over the BJP. “In last three months, we have mobilized our ground workers and focused on party workers, raising issues through protests and started social media campaign. Once this started in Upper Assam, it percolated in other parts also.”

Parivesh Mishra, a political commentator, said after losing three elections in a row, the Congress in Chhattisgarh came up with some innovative and out-of-the-box training techniques for its cadre, which worked in 2018 assembly polls. “Baghel is among a few sitting chief ministers of the party and has access to resources to manage polls.”

The campaign is also fortified by the visits of Rahul Gandhi, a member of the Indian Parliament, representing the constituency of Wayanad, Kerala, and Priyanka Gandhi Indian politician and the general secretary of the All India Congress Committee in charge of Uttar Pradesh.

In their campaign speeches, they have made strong assurances and guarantees.  Priyanka’s outreach to the tea garden workers, plucking tea leaves with them made waves in their community and her Jhumur’ dance with tea tribes of Assam, holding hands in the dance was winning hearts.

Her five guarantees” to the people of the poll-bound state, including a law to nullify the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, if voted to power.  She also promises generation of five lakh government jobs; raising tea workers’ daily wage to Rs 365; free electricity up to 200 units per household; and Rs 2,000 monthly income support to all housewives.

Rahul Gandhi also promises during his campaigning that he will defend and protect the principles of the Assam accord. And said, “We will not step an inch back.”He said, “Whatever be the circumstances, we will NEVER implement CAA if voted to power.”

He assured the people, “If violence enters Assam, it will be divided and India will be hurt. We will not let this happen.”

He also reiterated, “We shall protect every religion, every caste, every person.”  Assam does not thrive on communal politics, unlike northern India, so this will sit well with the Assamese.

He assures jobs, saying, “We shall provide job opportunities to our young.”

Winds of change are moving into Assam with new dimensions.   As noted in the past, promises made by Rahul Gandhi during his campaigning trails were always fastened with deliverance.

The present opinion polls are showing Congress rising ahead and Gaurav Gogoi, 2-term MP, Deputy Leader Lok Sabha says on March 10th, “They talk about ‘polarisation’, we talk of employment. Surveys have started showing what the people prefer”

He also said that while addressing the gathering at Mohanbari during the Congress 5 Guarantee Yatra that the Congress kickstarted, “they highlighted the benefits of our 5 guarantees which will bring immense prosperity to the people of Assam, and usher in a secure future.”


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