EDITORIAL | What awaits the Assam political chessboard in 2021?

It will be interesting to see whether these separate regional parties would form a united front in the upcoming election or prefer to go solo.
EDITORIAL | What awaits the Assam political chessboard in 2021?

FROM THE EDITOR’s DESK:

It was quite an exciting yet decisive ride for the state of Assam in 2020. Why? Because Assam has witnessed it all. From protests against the enactment of the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), COVID-19 pandemic to dramatical twists in the political landscape of the state.

Let’s talk politics!

The formation of new regional parties was perhaps one of the key highlights of the year in the political calendar of the state. Supposedly, the regional parties, backed by influential groups like the All Assam Student’s Union (AASU) and the Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti (KMSS), are looked at as “alternative” to the national parties, floated with an aim to “dislodge” the ruling BJP from the state in the 2021 Assembly polls.

It will be interesting to see whether these separate regional entities would form a united front in the upcoming election or prefer to go solo. If they choose the latter, the chances of “dislodging” the ruling BJP is slim; however, if they decide to join hands, they would probably give the saffron party a tough time.

If we talk about the mushrooming of regional parties to supposedly serve as an "alternative" to the national parties, then Meghalaya is just the state that can provide an insight into how these so-called regional parties function.

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Meghalaya has so many regional parties that have one common goal, and that is, to protect the indigenous people of the state. But unfortunately, unlike Nationalist Democratic Progressive Party (NDPP)-led Nagaland, Sikkim Krantikari Morcha (SKM)-Sikkim and Mizo National Front (MNF)-led Mizoram, Meghalaya has always been under the rule of a national party for the past two decades (be it the Congress or the National People’s Party) despite the presence of major regional forces.

Lack of unity has cost them the chance to lead the government many times. Though some are part of the coalition governments (present and past), none have really emerged as a single largest party.

Why? Maybe because there are too many parties to choose from, leading to confusion amongst the voters and subsequently a division in the votes.

As emotions run high in Assam over the upcoming assembly polls in the state, political twists and turns would only intensify.

Where does Congress fit in all these developments?

The “gradual decimation” of the Congress party in Assam was another interesting turn of events as evident from the recently concluded Bodoland Territorial Council (BTC) polls.

The demise of political stalwart and former Assam CM, Tarun Gogoi has indeed left a huge vacuum, which looks like it would take time before anyone could actually fill the gap.

With the main political architect in Assam gone, will the grand old party survive? Or will it succumb to the political virus called “defection”?

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