Guwahati, Mar 4: Elections in five states are around the corner as the dates for legislative polls have been announced. Assam, along with Tamil Nadu, Kerala, West Bengal and Puducherry will go to polls in April-May. The frontier state of Assam is one of the keenly viewed region from electoral perspective, since it is one of the remaining bastions of Congress. Although, the grand-old party has fermented its grip in the state for the past 15 years, it could well be on it’s way out by May 2016. (ALSO READ: Assam Assembly Elections 2016 dates announced by Election Commission; polls begin from April 4Also Read - Punjab Polls 2022: Bhagwant Mann, AAP's CM Candidate Challenges CM Channi to Contest Against Him From Dhuri

Here is all you need to know about the political scenario of the state: Also Read - Punjab Election 2022: BJP Releases List of Candidates, Check Names Announced so Far

Legislative strength Also Read - BJP Releases Second List of 85 Candidates For UP Elections 2022. Check Full List of Names Here

Assam state assembly comprises of 126 seats presently. The legislative House came into existence during the British rule. Ever since its formation in 1937, the composite state has been bifurcated several times.

Current political situation

The state Government in Assam is being ruled by Congress. Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi enjoys support of 66 legislators in the House. Although, the Congress won 78 seats in the previous election, it’s numbers came down in 2015 after the expulsion of 12 dissident MLAs.

Congress is no longer in coalition with pro-Muslim outfit All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF) and the Bodoland People’s Front (BPF). Both the allies have parted ways with Congress now. In the upcoming elections, AIUDF will contest independently, whereas, BPF has sided with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

Contemporary political agenda

More than economic, the social issues have plagued the state of Assam. The ethnic troubles are once again simmering and the widespread dissent against the influx of Bangladeshi immigrants is escalating. In the words of BJP’s chief ministerial candidate, “Assam election (for the Opposition) is not about roti, kapda and makan, it is a fight to preserve the cultural identity of the state.” Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi is accused of showing a soft approach towards the illegal Bangladeshi settlers to broaden his Muslim vote bank. It is the alleged ‘minority appeasement of Congress’, along with the 15-year anti-incumbency of Gogoi which could topple the current regime in the State.

Primary contender

BJP, under the jurisdiction of Amit Shah has entered into tactical alliances with regional outfits Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) and BPF. According to sources, the saffron party is likely to allot 24 seats to BPF and AGP each. BJP chief Amit Shah is planning to topple Gogoi by forming a Mahagathbandhan (grand-alliance) with the regional players. The poll-readiness of BJP could be gauged by the non-characteristic practise of announcing chief ministerial candidate months before the elections. Sarbananda Sonowal, who is the most popular face of BJP in Assam is projected as the next CM.

Badruddin Ajmal – Kingmaker wants to be the king

The AIUDF will contest on 60 seats. Assam has a total population of 33 per cent Muslims. At least 34 seats in the state are decided by the voting pattern of the minority community. These constituencies house the largest number of ghettos where Bangladeshi immigrants reside. AIUDF chief Maulana Badruddin Ajmal has parted ways with Congress and is hopeful of a situation where his party outdoes its former ally in the upcoming elections, and if the situation of a post-poll coalition arise, he gets the Chief Minister’s chair.

Himanta Baswa Sarma promises to sink Tarun Gogoi

Key political player and former Congress legislator Himanta Biswa Sarma defected to BJP last year along with 13 other MLAs in his support. He was aggrieved by the alleged autocratic style of functioning of the Congress high command. Sarma was leading the poll campaign of Congress during the previous election and party vice president Rahul Gandhi had himself showered praises for Sarma after their victory. His departure from Congress along with 13 other legislators was successfully encashed by BJP, by not only welcoming him and other dissidents wholeheartedly but also appointing Sarma on the forefront in the campaign trail.

Previous Election Results

Assembly elections 2011

Indian National Congress

78

All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF)

18

Bodoland People’s Front (BPF)

12

Asom Gana Parishad (AGP)

09

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)

05

Trinamool Congress (TMC)

01

Independents

02

TOTAL

126

*Congress is now reduced to 66 seats since 12 legislators were expelled for defecting to BJP.

Lok Sabha Election 2014

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)

07

Indian National Congress

03

All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF)

03

Bodoland People’s Front (BPF)

0

Asom Gana Parishad (AGP)

0

Trinamool Congress (TMC)

0

Independents

0

TOTAL

126

 The development rhetoric of Narendra Modi during his Prime Ministerial run drastically improved the prospects of BJP in Assam. From being a non-existent entity in the state polity, the saffron party has now rose to a position from where it eyes to emerge as the single-largest party in the frontier state.

Quick takeaways

Total Assembly Seats: 126

Ruling party: Congress

Main contenders: – BJP (in alliance with AGP and BPF)
– AIUDF led by Badruddin Ajmal

Incumbent Chief Minister: Tarun Gogoi (since May, 2001)

Chief Ministerial aspirants: – Sarbananda Sonowal (BJP)
– Badruddin Ajmal (AIUDF)

Election dates: April 4 & 11

Election results: May 19