Guwahati, May 20: It's a historic win for the BJP in Assam. Under the leadership of Sarbananda Sonowal, the BJP is all set to form the government in the state for the first time.
The victory ensures that the party in the coming days would play a prominent role in the entire northeast region--traditionally a Congress bastion. Five years ago, it was beyond anybody's imagination that one day the BJP would form the government with an astounding majority in the state.
In the recently declared results of the Assam Assembly Elections 2016, the BJP and its allies swept the polls by winning 86 out of 126 seats. BJP has won 60 seats, with its coalition partners - the Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) and the Bodoland Peoples Front (BPF) winning 14 and 12 respectively.
In the Assembly polls, 2011, the BJP managed to get just five seats. The party made a huge leap from five to 60 seats in just a period of five years.
What changed the fortune for the saffron party?
There are several theories doing the rounds to explain the impressive victory achieved by the BJP and its partners.
Right from the immense popularity enjoyed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi among the voters, defection of political maverick Himanta Biswa Sarma from the Congress to the BJP in 2015 to Congress' failure to solve the large-scale illegal immigration from the neighbouring country Bangladesh, these are some of the main reasons cited behind the end of Congress veteran Tarun Gogoi's 15-year rule.
RSS engineered BJP's win?
There is no doubt several factors helped BJP's maiden victory in the state. But dig a little deeper, the real reason emerges.
In a discussion conducted by Prannoy Roy on NDTV on Thursday (May 19), when the election results were declared, Seshadri Chari, member of the BJP National Executive, said the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) had strong base in both Assam and Kerala.
It's a different story why all these years the BJP struggled to get a single seat in the Kerala State Assembly, which it finally managed to win this time.
Targeted Upper Assam and tea gardens
The BJP general secretary and the RSS functionary Ram Madhav also played a significant role in BJP's win in Assam.
"We turned the demography into a challenge. We concentrated on areas like Upper Assam and the tea gardens. Voter turnout in places like Guwahati increased tremendously. At the same time, our plan forced Congress and AIUDF to fight each other in Muslim-dominated areas," Madhav told in an interview to the Times of India.
Covert strategy adopted by RSS
According to an article written by Rajeev Bhattacharyya in The Caravan magazine, the journalist credited the RSS for helping fill the BJP's grassroots vacuum in Assam.
"Part of the reason behind the BJP's emergence lies in the covert strategy the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) has been working on for the past several months to ensure the party's win in the assembly polls," writes Bhattacharyya.
Wooing former Congress and AGP men
In an article written by noted journalist Shekhar Gupta, which was published just after the second and final phase of Assam elections got over on April 11, he says, "The real brilliance of this RSS campaign lies in building a dominant power base with, and for, a mostly non-RSS leadership. That is why the rise of the BJP in Assam is their standout victory."
"Win or lose, the BJP is Assam's front-runner, from being non-existent three decades ago except for thousands of committed RSS workers, pracharaks and strategists brought in from all over.
How they sowed the first seeds of their ideology, co-opted the massively popular Assam movement, converted its ethnic-chauvinistic impulse into an anti-Muslim one, built a launch pad for the BJP and then conjured up a local leadership is the stuff of political folklore," he adds.