This Bihu season, Assam is dancing to the tunes of politics

Written by: Maitreyee Boruah
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Guwahati, March 27: April is the month of festivity for Assamese people. Bohag or Rongali Bihu marks the advent of spring and the entire state dances to the tunes of music and merry making. 

It is the biggest festival for Assamese society and the celebration beginning from April 14 continues for almost a month.


In several places Bihu pandals (podiums where popular musicians, singers and folk artistes come together to highlight best of Assamese culture) have been erected.
Most of the housewives have already started preparation for local delicacies like ladoos and pithas to serve to the revellers.

However, this year Bihu festivities are colliding with the Assam Assembly Elections 2016.
The election fever has literally hijacked the glamour of Bihu festivities.


The polls in the state will be held in two phases on April 4 and April 11. A total of 1.98 crore voters will decide the fate of candidates fighting elections in the 126 Assembly seats.

It is a high stake election for both the BJP and Congress. If Congress is fighting anti-incumbency and vying to capture power in the northeastern state for the historical fourth term in a row, the BJP is looking to capture power in the state for the first time.
Riding high on the success of the last Lok Sabha elections, BJP is confident that it would come to power in the state.

In the last Lok Sabha polls, the BJP won seven out of 14 seats in Assam. It was a huge morale boost for the party as the state is ruled by the Congress.

The ruling Congress managed only three seats. Moreover, the BJP has stitched an alliance with the regional parties Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) and Bodo People's Front (BPF).
The BJP supporters feel that the state is still under the spell of Modi wave and it would help the party to win the elections.

"Narendra Modi rules the hearts of the people in the state. The voters will definitely vote for Modi and help BJP win the elections," said a BJP member.
On Saturday, the PM started his five-day-long visit in the state. He will campaign across Assam during his stay.

Attacking the Congress government under Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi, Modi on Saturday said, "Assam is now a diseased state and the root of all disease and trouble is Congress, which must be uprooted at all costs."

Modi addressed two election rallies in Upper Assam's Bihpuria and Bokakhat constituencies on Saturday.

However, Congress is also not giving up easily.
In spite of several surveys signaling a win for the BJP-AGP alliance in the state, Gogoi is confident of his party's victory.

"I am sure that people of Assam will shower their love and affection and ensure that Congress is back to power in the state. I have done some mistakes as I am not perfect. However, I am not vindictive."
"There is anti-incumbency, but anti-incumbency is there against other parties too," Gogoi added.

Several poll pundits feel predicting results in the state is difficult, as it is a complex scenario.
Political parties having ideological differences have forged alliances to win elections.
"It is not easy to predict anything at this stage. The entire political scenario looks convoluted right now," said senior journalist Rupam Baruah.

However, voters unaware of such complexities of politics are confused as well as a bit awe-stuck seeing a surge of big political names visiting the state.

"It is good to see Modi making repeated visits to the state. After all elections are coming closer and political leaders from Delhi are visiting Assam to garner votes for their parties. Otherwise who cares for Assam or Northeast India," said Nilima Deka, a college student in Guwahati.

Similarly resident of Guwahati and homemaker Mitali Bora, who loves to cook Bihu delicacies duringthe festival time, says she is yet to make her decision whom to cast her vote. 

"It is a circus. Politicians ask for our votes during elections, afterwards they forget their promises. Assam has several problems. The major ones are unemployment and bad infrastructure," added Mitali.
No matter, what the election results hold for political parties, come April 14, every Assamese heart would flutter in the songs of the spring.

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