Express News Service
GUWAHATI: It was not the BJP, but the minority-based All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF) which had the best strike rate in the Assam elections.
The party contested 20 seats and won 16 with a strike rate of 80%. The seats were in Bengali-Muslim majority regions of Central and Lower Assam and the Barak Valley of Southern Assam where the party holds sway. In 2016, the AIUDF had contested 73 seats and won 13.
The BJP-Asom Gana Parishad (AGP)-United People’s Party Liberal (UPPL) combine had won 75 of the state’s 126 seats as against 50 by the Congress-led grand alliance of 10 Opposition parties which had the AIUDF, the Bodoland People’s Front (BPF), the Left and some smaller regional parties as components.
The BJP won 60 of the 92 seats it contested with a strike rate of 65.21%. In 2016, it had won an equal number of seats contesting from 84 seats. The AGP contested 26 seats and won nine with a strike rate of 35%. In the last elections, it contested 28 seats and won 14. The UPPL contested eight and won six with a strike rate of 75%. In 2016, it contested four and drew a blank.
The Congress contested 94 seats and won 29 with a strike rate of 31%. In 2016, it contested 122 seats and won 26. The BPF had contested 12 seats and won four with a strike rate of 33%. The Left contested four seats and won one with a strike rate of 25%. One seat had gone to an Independent candidate.
For the AIUDF, the sterling performance has not sunk in yet.
“If the Congress had allowed us to contest in five-six more seats, we would have won those as well,” party general secretary, Haidar Hussain Bora told The New Indian Express.
According to him, the AIUDF had sought to contest in 26-27 seats but the Congress was not ready to give it more than 14 seats. Eventually, the deal was struck at 20. In six of them, the two parties had friendly contests with AIUDF winning two and Congress four.
“We sacrificed in the interests of the alliance as we wanted to defeat the BJP. The Congress’s focus should have been more on Upper Assam. It was an empty field as we were not there. It should have performed better in that region,” Bora added.
But the Congress said it suffered in Upper and Northern Assam due to the alliance with the AIUDF.
“The alliance with the AIUDF has affected us greatly in Upper and Northern Assam,” a Congress insider said, pointing out that the grand old party had won just five of the 42 seats in the two regions.
The grand alliance of the Opposition was formed one month ahead of the elections to oust the BJP from power. When the Congress had come up with the idea of “Mahajot”, it received immediate support from the AIUDF.
This was for the first time that the two parties had come together to thwart the split of anti-BJP and anti-AGP votes. In the 2016 elections, their combined vote share was more than that of the winning candidates from the BJP coalition in 14 seats.
During his lifetime, former Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi of the Congress had always opposed the alliance with the AIUDF fearing a possible setback in the Assamese-majority Upper and Northern Assam regions where a strong sentiment of Assamese sub-nationalism works. The AIUDF is viewed by many in Assam as a party floated to protect the interests of the illegal Bangladeshi immigrants.
Vote share of major parties
BJP 33.21% (2021), 29.5% (2016)Congress 29.67% (2021), 30.9% (2016)AGP 7.91% (2021), 8.1% (2016)AIUDF 9.29% (2021), 13% (2016)BPF 3.39% (2021), 3.9% (2016)
AIUDF: 80% (contested 20, won 16,UPPL: 75% (contested 8, won 6)BJP: 65.21% (contested 92, won 60)AGP: 35% (contested 26, won 9)BPF: 33% (contested 12, won 4)