Assam polls 2016: BJP looks more organised than Congress but still...

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The BJP had launched its "Mission 84" in Assam which will go to polls in a few months, soon after the 2014 Lok Sabha election. The saffron party has chosen Union minister Sarbananda Sonowal to lead its mission in the north-eastern state where it done well in the last Lok Sabha elections.

Three-time Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi, on the other hand, will be hoping to prevent the BJP from making inroads in the state which is known to be a Congress bastion. An alliance between the Congress and AIUDF is also not clear. The departure of Himanta Biswa Sarma from the Congress and his joining the BJP last August has also been perceived to be blow by the Gogoi regime.

Sarbananda Sonowal and Tarun Gogoi

Source: IndiaVotes 

But Assam's election is not just about whether the Congress or BJP can do or not. The state doesn't have a typical bipolar political scenario like in some states in central and western India and issues like land, ethnicity, infiltration, language and terror activities make Assam a complex case to handle.

The BJP has felt encouraged by the big leap in its membership, the fact that 38 of 74 urban local bodies are under its control and it has won a seat in the Bodoland Territorial Council elections.

In October last year, the BJP helped form the Tiwa Autonomous Council and wrested the Dima Hasao Autonomous Council by causing defections in the Congress and getting many former militants-turned-Council members on its side. The BJP has also formed an alliance with the Bodoland People's Front for the upcoming elections. The party is also taking stock of its condition in each of the state's 126 Assembly constituencies. Prime Minister Narendra Modi also ensured that at least one central minister visits the state every week.

But can the BJP get into the details of the state's complicated political equation? The saffron party is expert in handling the politics of the Hindi heartland but can it do so in case of a northeastern state like Assam? In 2011, the BJP could win just five out of 126 seats and even though it put up a good show in the 2014 general election, but the reason could be attributed more to the nationwide wave in favour of Modi. A state election is a different ball-game and issues like personality clashes between two local heavyweights-Sonowal and Sarma-could pose more headache for Modi.

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