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In the last Assam Assembly elections, the BJP won just five seats. This time it has made inroads in the state with majority and has successfully made Assam the first 'saffron state' of Northeast.
The key factors that aided BJP in dominating this election can be summarised as under:
#1 A CHANGE OF LEADERSHIP
With the Congress failing to project a reformed vision of leadership, it was very easy for the public to lay their faith in the hands of the BJP thereby ending the 15-year rule of the Congress. Senior leader of BJP, Ram Madhav was instrumental in helping BJP do its groundwork for the Assam elections.
#2 ILLEGAL IMMIGRANT ISSUE
The influx of illegal immigrants was on a steady rise with many bordering districts of Assam having illegal immigrants in a majority. To keep it simple, there has been a gradual loss of land and jobs in rural areas owing to this issue. The genuine citizens being reduced to a minority in their own areas wanted a change and thereby pressed BJP! The locals began to perceive that the rise in infiltration had support of the Congress leadership.
#3 THE PERFECT COALITION
As termed by many, the 'rainbow alliance' of BJP which represents almost all the social groups, including Ahom, Bodo, Rabha, Kyat, Mishing, North Indians, and Bengalis created the much needed positive impact. This social coalition translated into political coalition with parties like Assam Gana Parishad (AGP), Bodo People Front (BPF) and other tribal groups. Besides this Rabha, Mishing, Rajobanshi and other tribal groups were also a part of the BJP alliance.
#4 MORE ACTIVE LEADER
Eighty-year-old Tarun Gogoi, who had been the Chief Minister of Assam for the last 15 years, was the face of the Congress party in this election against a relatively younger leadership, Sarbananda Sonowal. The latter's contribution in striking down the IMDT Act of 1985 could not be forgotten. He had a stronger grip among the youth and student community.
#5 SUPPORT OF THE YOUNGER GENERATION
Modi promised that if the BJP government was formed in Assam, the central government will especially take care of education for young (padhai), job for youth (kamai) and medical for the elderly (dawai). The fact that Assam was the first state where student organisation turned political party formed the government and its 33-year-old leader became the chief minister of the state cannot be undermined. In Assam elections, more than 80 per cent voting was registered in which youth and women participated with great enthusiasm.