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

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Religious Polarisation Outweighs Ethnic Mobilisation

Explaining NDA’s Victory in Assam

The Assam assembly elections continued the trend towards deepening of religious polarisation in the state. The Bharatiya Janata Party’s alliance strategy helped in retaining its hold over the ethnic base that had shifted to the party in 2016.

The Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) showing in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls in which it bagged nine out of the state’s 14 seats, two more than its tally of 2014, signified that the party was here to stay on as a dominant player. The assembly ele­ctions of 2021 continued the trend towards dominance of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) as the latter could win 75 seats out of 126, with around 45% vote share. Of the 75 seats that the NDA won, the BJP won 60 seats, while its allies the Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) and United People’s Party Liberal (UPPL) returned nine and six seats, respectively, to the NDA (Table 1, p 32). The Congress could secure 29 seats, while the Mahajot (Congress-led alliance) in all secured 50 seats with 44% vote share. Within the Mahajot, the performance of the All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF) was most phenomenal as it secured 16 out 20 seats it contested, while Congress secured 29 out of 95 seats it contested and the Bodoland People’s Front (BPF) won 4 out of the 12 seats it contested. Both the Congress and AIUDF gained three seats each despite depletion in their respective vote shares. The BPF lost 8 seats, while the Communist Party of India (Marxist) gained one seat as compared to their performance in 2016. As far as the vote share is concerned, while the BJP’s vote share surged by around 4%, the principal opposition party, that is, the Congress’s vote share declined by 1%. As compared to 2016, the NDA gained 7% vote share, while the Mahajot suffered an erosion of around 5% vote share, which explicitly indicates a comfortable and decisive victory in favour of the NDA. Though the newly formed regional party Assam Jatiya Parishad (AJP) could not open its account, it secured a 4% vote share; one candidate supported by Raijor Dal, another new entrant, won a seat.

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Updated On : 10th Jul, 2022
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