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Elections2019 Politics

General Elections 2019: Will Religion and Ethnicity play a Key Role in Assam?

SabrangIndia 22 Apr 2019

Key constituencies of Assam go to polls on April 23. Let’s analyse why they are so important.


Assam

Dhubri: Dhubri once a Congress stronghold has now elected incumbent Badruddin Ajmal of All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF) with impressive margins in both 2009 and 2014. Dhubri includes the assembly constituencies of Mankachar, South Salmara, Gauripur, Gokalganj, Bilasipara (East and West), Goalpara (East and West), Jaleswar and Dhubri.

The constituency has a Muslim majority in terms of population with 79.67 per cent following the faith according to the 2011 census. The region was affected by violence when riots broke out in the neighbouring Bodo Terrirorial Area Districts (BTAD) allegedly between ethnic Bodos and Bengali speaking Muslims in 2012.

Other candidates include TMC’s Nurul Islam Chaudhry, Javed Islam of the AGP (BJP ally), and the Congress’s Abu Tehar Bepari.

Barpeta: This constituency has been a traditional Congress bastion, but was clinched by the AIUDF in 2014. AIUDF chief Badruddin Ajmal’s brother Sirajuddin is the current MP, however it is Hafiz Rafiqul Islam who will contest elections from the seat from AIUDF.
This constituency also has a Muslim majority population with 70.74 per cent of the population practicing the religion as per the 2011 census. Over 90 percent of the population lives in rural areas. Barpeta suffers every year due to river erosion. The region is also economically backward.

The AIUDF, an alliance partner of the UPA for over 10 years claims it has scaled back on the number of constituencies to contest from, hoping that it would help the Congress in keeping BJP out. However, the Congress is contesting all 14 seats in Assam. The AGP candidate is Rajya Sabh MP Kumar Deepak Das.

Kokrajhar: This is the headquarters of the BTAD and has a large population of ethnic Bodos. There is also a significant Bengali speaking Muslim population. According to the 2011 census, over 19 per cent of the population is Muslim. The MP seat is reserved for Scheduled Tribes (ST).

Kokrajhar is home to a detention camp for Declared Foreigners. This is the only facility that has women inmates. The parliamentary constituency covers 10 assembly segments, including Tamulpur and Bijni among others. The region has also seen communal violence and clashes along ethnic and tribal lines.

Incumbent Nana Kumar “Heera” Saraniya is an independent and also a former commander of an ULFA battalion. His immediate competitors is Urkhao Gwra Brahma from the United People’s Party Liberal (UPPL). Brahma is a Sahitya Akademi award winning poet who has been an open champion for the cause of a separate state of Bodoland. While the UPPL enjoys the support of All Bodo Students Union as well as the National Democratic Front of Bodoland – Progressive faction (NDFB-P). Interestingly, UPPL has also allied with the AIUDF to consolidate the Muslim vote. Also contesting Is 6 Kokrajhar East MLA Pramila Rani Brahma of the Bodoland People’s Front, a BJP ally. Sabda Ram Rabha is the Congress candidate.

Gauhati: The parliamentary constituency includes the state capital of Dispur, as well as 9 other assembly constituencies. Traditionally, this has not been the stronghold of any one political party. 

The current MP is Bijoya Chakravarti of the BJP, though the party has fielded Queen Ojha. Ojha recently landed in a controversy about allegedly falsifying her educational records. The Congress has fielded Bobbeeta Sharma against her. Sharma is a former beauty queen.

There are over 4 lakh Muslim voters and the SC-ST population stands at about 20 percent. If either Ojha or Sharma win, it will be the first time the MP will be a woman since Renka Devi Barkakati in 1977.

 

General Elections 2019: Will Religion and Ethnicity play a Key Role in Assam?

Key constituencies of Assam go to polls on April 23. Let’s analyse why they are so important.


Assam

Dhubri: Dhubri once a Congress stronghold has now elected incumbent Badruddin Ajmal of All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF) with impressive margins in both 2009 and 2014. Dhubri includes the assembly constituencies of Mankachar, South Salmara, Gauripur, Gokalganj, Bilasipara (East and West), Goalpara (East and West), Jaleswar and Dhubri.

The constituency has a Muslim majority in terms of population with 79.67 per cent following the faith according to the 2011 census. The region was affected by violence when riots broke out in the neighbouring Bodo Terrirorial Area Districts (BTAD) allegedly between ethnic Bodos and Bengali speaking Muslims in 2012.

Other candidates include TMC’s Nurul Islam Chaudhry, Javed Islam of the AGP (BJP ally), and the Congress’s Abu Tehar Bepari.

Barpeta: This constituency has been a traditional Congress bastion, but was clinched by the AIUDF in 2014. AIUDF chief Badruddin Ajmal’s brother Sirajuddin is the current MP, however it is Hafiz Rafiqul Islam who will contest elections from the seat from AIUDF.
This constituency also has a Muslim majority population with 70.74 per cent of the population practicing the religion as per the 2011 census. Over 90 percent of the population lives in rural areas. Barpeta suffers every year due to river erosion. The region is also economically backward.

The AIUDF, an alliance partner of the UPA for over 10 years claims it has scaled back on the number of constituencies to contest from, hoping that it would help the Congress in keeping BJP out. However, the Congress is contesting all 14 seats in Assam. The AGP candidate is Rajya Sabh MP Kumar Deepak Das.

Kokrajhar: This is the headquarters of the BTAD and has a large population of ethnic Bodos. There is also a significant Bengali speaking Muslim population. According to the 2011 census, over 19 per cent of the population is Muslim. The MP seat is reserved for Scheduled Tribes (ST).

Kokrajhar is home to a detention camp for Declared Foreigners. This is the only facility that has women inmates. The parliamentary constituency covers 10 assembly segments, including Tamulpur and Bijni among others. The region has also seen communal violence and clashes along ethnic and tribal lines.

Incumbent Nana Kumar “Heera” Saraniya is an independent and also a former commander of an ULFA battalion. His immediate competitors is Urkhao Gwra Brahma from the United People’s Party Liberal (UPPL). Brahma is a Sahitya Akademi award winning poet who has been an open champion for the cause of a separate state of Bodoland. While the UPPL enjoys the support of All Bodo Students Union as well as the National Democratic Front of Bodoland – Progressive faction (NDFB-P). Interestingly, UPPL has also allied with the AIUDF to consolidate the Muslim vote. Also contesting Is 6 Kokrajhar East MLA Pramila Rani Brahma of the Bodoland People’s Front, a BJP ally. Sabda Ram Rabha is the Congress candidate.

Gauhati: The parliamentary constituency includes the state capital of Dispur, as well as 9 other assembly constituencies. Traditionally, this has not been the stronghold of any one political party. 

The current MP is Bijoya Chakravarti of the BJP, though the party has fielded Queen Ojha. Ojha recently landed in a controversy about allegedly falsifying her educational records. The Congress has fielded Bobbeeta Sharma against her. Sharma is a former beauty queen.

There are over 4 lakh Muslim voters and the SC-ST population stands at about 20 percent. If either Ojha or Sharma win, it will be the first time the MP will be a woman since Renka Devi Barkakati in 1977.

 

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