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BJP confident of maintaining winning spree in 2021 polls
PRANJAL BHUYAN
 GUWAHATI, Oct 25 - The ruling BJP has termed the outcome of the by-polls to four legislative Assembly constituencies of the State, results of which were declared on Thursday, as a decisive verdict in favour of the Central and State governments headed by the party and exuded confidence of sustaining the momentum in run-up to the 2021 elections in Assam.

“The by-poll results are a reflection of the people’s faith in the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the Centre and Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal in the State. The social welfare schemes of our governments have benefited all sections of the society and people have reposed their faith on us. The by-poll results, coming close on the heels of our success in the Lok Sabha elections earlier this year, clearly indicate that we will return to power in Assam in 2021,” State BJP general secretary Pulak Gohain told this newspaper.

The BJP retained Ratabari, Rangapara and Sonari constituencies in the by-elections. The saffron party had won these three seats during the 2016 Assembly polls as well.

In the by-polls, BJP’s margin of victory more than doubled in Rangapara as compared to the 2016 Assembly elections. However, its margins came down a bit in Ratabari and Sonari.

Gohain admitted that BJP still has some way to go in securing the support of the Muslim electorate.

The party could manage only the third position in the minority-dominated Jania constituency.

“We could perform well in Jania as we expected. We need to do more to further strengthen our base among the minority community voters. Our party will soon take adequate measures for that,” said Gohain.

State BJP vice president Vijay Kumar Gupta said that the ruling party has been able to able to expand its organisational base to the grass-root level in Assam.

“Our booth-level cadres played a major role in mobilising the voters during the by-polls. Having a good organisation always helps. The hard work of our party cadres at the ground and mass contact level with the voters is a major reason behind BJP’s victory in elections at various tiers during recent years in Assam. In addition, the electorate of Assam has benefited from the government’s development agenda. They have also appreciated our government’s drive against corruption. All these factors have contributed to our success in the by-election,” Gupta added.

On the other hand, the principal Opposition Congress party said that it will introspect and analyse the reasons behind its debacle in the by-polls.

“We are stunned. The results are disheartening for us. But this is not the end of the road. We put up a good fight at both Sonari and Ratabari. As far as Jania is concerned, the results are inexplicable. We will introspect and formulate necessary strategies to bounce back,” State Congress vice president Pradyut Bordoloi said.

He added that the Congress party will have to try and formulate a new electoral strategy in the coming days.

“We need to present an alternative discourse to the voters of Assam. In addition, within the party we will have to remove the complacency and lethargy that have seeped in to some extent,” said Bordoloi, who is also the Lok Sabha MP from Nagaon.

AIUDF, which managed to wrest the Jania seat from the Congress in the by-polls, claimed that the minority community voters have reposed faith in the Badruddin Ajmal-led party.

“Our victory in Jania proves that the minority voters are with us. Congress used the minorities only as vote bank for decades. The trend of the by-election will get reflected in other minority-dominated areas of central Assam, lower Assam and Barak Valley in the days to come,” said Aminul Islam, general secretary of AIUDF.

He said that the time has come for the Congress party to recalibrate strategy if it is serious about defeating the BJP.

“The Congress should think carefully and revise its strategy. It should start listening to other anti-BJP forces or else the Congress will soon become irrelevant in Assam’s politics,” added the AIUDF leader.

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