Silchar’s electoral fate depends on interplay of ethic and communal quotients

This constituency in Assam’s Barak Valley has a large population of Bengali Hindus and it is possible that their vote that will determine the electoral fortunes of key players in the region. The BJP had hard sold its stand on the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill 2016 (CAB) in Assam, promising all Hindus in the subcontinent safe haven and citizenship in India.


Silchar has a large population of Hindus, many of whom are Bengali and are alleged to have migrated from Bangladesh. It is interesting because many of these Bengali Hindus were left out of the draft of the National Register of Citizens (NRC) that was released in July 2018. The conflict surrounding the CAB stems from the possibility of granting citizenship to these people whose citizenship is under question now due to the NRC.

So basically an “insider vs outsider” debate between Assamese people and people of alleged Bangladeshi descent, has been given a communal Hindu vs Muslim twist. Silchar has seen several protests, rallies and demonstrations due to this. In the past Silchar has also experienced bouts of communal violence in 2017 and 2018.

The incumbent Susmita Dev of the Congress is also the president of the All India Mahila Congress. She is also the daughter of veteran Congress leader and five time MP from the region Santosh Mohan Dev. Both Rahul and Priyanka Gandhi have campaigned for her. Meanwhile the BJP has fielded Rajdeep Roy. Also, earlier Assam Minister Hemant Biswa Sarma made a remark comparing Susmita Dev to Pakistan, a gaffe whose electoral impact remains to be seen.

Meanwhile the All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF) that has a sizable following among Muslim voters has opted out of fielding any candidates, a move that is being viewed as something that might bolster the Congress’s chances.

Silchar parliamentary constituency includes the assembly segments of Silchar, Sonai, Dholai, Lakhipur, Udharband, Borkhola and Katigorah, all of which are ruled by the BJP except Lakhipur which was won by the Congress. 




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