I was on my way to Dehradun on the Dehradun Shatabdi. The train boy gave me the Indian express to read and as I turned the page, I stumbled at the Joint Manifesto of AGP and BJP alliance. Most of it seemed obvious repetition of many promises that have been made before and will be again made in the future. But I was caught at one definite point. The first point in the manifesto, and perhaps the most important of the Joint collaboration between the BJP (Bharatiya Janata Party) and the AGP (Axom Gono Parishad) states that if the alliance come into power it would see to it that the ‘Assam Accord’ is implemented in its total sense. The Accord was signed in 1985 which said that it would detect and deport the illegal immigrations from Assam. It does not evoke surprise as the parties have always tried to political mileage out of the immigration issue both in direct and indirect way. While there are parties which have reaped benefits by bringing in many migrants and granting them with voter cards and within a night’s time changing the entire equation of votes in elections in the past.
The history of the AGP clearly shows that it was the party which in fact rose into fame by fighting for the bringing forth of Assam Accord. By later, they could not hold onto the former claim and corruption and undemocratic character within the party led to its breakdown and tarnished its image thus leading the party to lose its formerly held popular base.
While there is also a popular belief in Assam that if BJP come into power the illegal immigration issue would be addressed. Well it is just a belief and this belief emerges not because people of Assam believe in the maturity of the politicians in the party but because they have faith in the ‘fascist ideology of Nationalism’ propagated by the BJP. And this belief gains increasing importance because Congress has historically shown a soft corner towards the Bangladeshis with the disguise of Secularism.
The Alliance between the BJP and AGP of course has been able to garner much needed attention in Assam, at least among the political scientists. The parties in Assam have also seen many of its well established popular political figures juggling parties. And the shift of Sarbananda Sonowal from AGP to congress undisputedly stands most important. He apparently had issues with corruption with the party which forced him to shift. He played the most pioneering role in bringing forth the IMDT Act, which infact helped AGP soar high heights in Assam.
The alliance also claims to finish fencing in the border within a year and also increasing the power of BSF to deal with the issue. Some of the other points in the manifestos are to fight against the big dams (a little ironical and hollow) and fighting major corruption and to fight forth whole round development of Assam. Thus, it only needs to seen in time how the Alliance perform in Assam in the coming elections in Assam starting 4th April.