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Assam Election 2016: Key issues

Speed News Desk | Updated on: 17 May 2016, 20:32 IST

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and its allies are set for a landslide victory in Assam, if exit polls released on Monday, 16 May, are anything to go by.

The three-pronged NDA alliance, containing BJP, Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) and Bodoland People's Front (BPF), has been touted as the overwhelming favourite to form the government in Dispur later this month.

On the other hand, the Badruddin Ajmal-led All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF), which won 18 seats in the 2011 polls, is expected to lose ground this term.

With the results of the polls set to be out on Thursday, 19 May, here is a look at some of the key factors over which the polls were fought.

Illegal immigration

Illegal immigration from Bangladesh was the foremost election issue in Assam this year, with BJP and its allies targeting the ruling Congress of aiding and abetting illegal immigrants.

The alliance also targeted AIUDF of being a vote bank for the illegal immigrants, with BJP's campaign-in-chief Himanta Biswa Sarma going as far as to call AIUDF supremo Badruddin Ajmal as being 'originally a Bangladeshi Muslim'.

ST status of six tribes

The Narendra Modi government, in March, promised to grant Scheduled Tribe (ST) status to six indigenous communities in Assam, namely the Ahom, Moran, Motok, Chutia, Koch Rajbonshi, and the tea tribes.

This didn't go down well with many other communities residing in the state. On the other hand, the government's subsequent hesitation to grant the same before the elections also left some of the indigenous tribes agitated.

Infrastructural development

Narendra Modi, during one of his election rallies said his three-point agenda for Assam was 'development, development, and development'. The BJP, during its campaign trail, has often accused the Congress of failing to beef up the level of infrastructure in the state during its 15-year rule.

On the other hand, the state government has claimed to make significant progress over the 15-year period. It has also claimed success in toning down the insurgency in the state during its rule.

Corruption

The ruling Congress government has long been targeted for failing to stop widespread corruption in government offices over the last few years.

BJP has accused the Congress of stimulating an environment of rampant corruption in the state. Union Minister Nitin Gadkari even termed Congress as being synonymous with corruption, citing irregularities to the tune of Rs. 1,80,000 crore.

Rhino poaching

Poaching of the one-horned rhinoceros in wildlife protection areas of the state also emerged as a key election issue this term. With the state government failing to stop the poaching of the endangered species, it has come under severe criticism from various quarters.

Narendra Modi said in one of his rallies earlier this year, "We have heard of the Congress indulging in rampant corruption and siphoning public money, but in Assam it has even resorted to eating up the rhinos in the wild. So, on the poll day you press the EVM button to hunt down the rhino hunters."

First published: 17 May 2016, 20:32 IST
 
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