Division of votes between AGP, BJP helped Congress

Last Updated: Sun, May 15, 2011 11:32 hrs

Guwahati: The Congress encashed on the division of votes between the Asom Gana Parishad and the BJP and rode home to a third consecutive victory in Assam winning 78 of the 126 seats.

The AGP won 10 seats and the BJP five.

In seats where the Congress was expected to lose, it won because of the presence AGP and BJP candidates which divided the votes.

The Congress could wean away the AGP and BJP voters as the opposition parties had no focused issues and no grassroots presence, according to a study conducted by the Gauhati University Political Science Department under the guidance of Delhi-based Centre for the Study of Developing Societies (CSDS).

The absence of unity within the AGP and between it and the BJP further eroded their support base, Prof Sandhya Goswami of the Political Science Department of CSDC who did the study for news channel CNN-IBN told PTI.

The corruption issue against the Congress that the AGP sought to encash made no impact on the rural voters as they are not aware of such problems, Prof Goswami said.

Rural people were more concerned with the fulfilment of their basic needs such as housing, food, health, development and peace, she added.

She also said the immigrant minority voters of the AGP shifted to the Congress due to reports of the AGP having unofficial talks for an alliance with the BJP, which they considered its enemy.

The immigrant population's support moved further to the Congress from 2009 onwards as it had undertaken development work in the char (riverine areas) where they reside, the analysis said.

The survey revealed Tarun Gogoi's alignment with the ethnic Bodo community through Bodoland Peoples Front (BPF) caused the Hindu and the indigenous Assamese Muslim voters of the AGP to also migrate to the Congress.

The survey on the voting pattern also revealed rural voters, youth and women voters were instrumental in the landslide victory of the Congress.

It showed 32.7 per cent of the sampled voters gave their mandate to the Congress, 16.4 to the AGP, 11.8 to the AIUDF and 8.2 to the BJP.

Prof Goswami said the minority dominated AIUDF emerging as the single largest opposition party had not considerably improved its position this time even though it won 18 seats against its debut 2006 election tally of 10.

The movement of the immigrant minority voters of the AGP to the AIUDF in the wake of the possible AGP-BJP alliance caused their tally to go up this time, she added.

Apart from these, the largess of the Congress government to gift computers to meritorious students and provide innovative health schemes too paid off.

"I feel the major reason for my victory in Guwahati East seat which people said will go to the AGP is the government measures to improve interior roads," said Capt Robin Bordoloi who won the seat.

"Roads along the adjoining hills where mostly poor people stay have been built and I feel that is one of the reasons why I got more votes than my opponents," he said.

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