Elections in Assam: The Wait is On
|POSTED ON 3 MAY 2011
ResearchER, Centre for Development
and Peace Studies
In Assam, there has been no looking back for the Congress
since it came to power after the assembly elections
in 2001. The party has been in power since then, with
Tarun Gogoi as the Chief Minister for two consecutive
terms. In the 2001 Legislative Assembly elections, Congress
had won 71 seats, securing 40% of the total votes cast.
The main opposition party in the state, Asom Gana Parishad
(AGP), which was in power before the elections, secured
20 seats with a vote share of 20% of the total votes
cast. The other major political party contesting the
election, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) secured 8 seats
with 9% vote share.
In the next state assembly elections in 2006, the seat
tally of the Congress fell to 53. The percentage of
votes cast in its favour also declined to 31%. The AGP
and BJP won 24 and 10 seats, respectively, gaining a
marginal increase in their number of seats. This election
saw a new party coming into the fray, changing the voting
patterns in some districts of the state. This party
was the Assam United Democratic Front (AUDF) [It is
now All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF)]. The
AUDF won 10 seats in the elections and secured 7% of
the total votes cast. With its performance, it established
itself as a force to be reckoned with in Assam’s
In April 2011, the state of Assam again went to the
polls. At present the whole state is eagerly waiting
for the results of this election. The results will be
out on May 13, 2011. Till then nobody can say what could
be the outcome of this election. At this juncture, it
is worthwhile to have a look at some of the trends concerning
the last two state assembly elections in Assam in 2001
In the 2001 elections, Congress had won 71 seats out
of the 126 contested. The AGP and the BJP had a seat
sharing agreement and they had fielded candidates in
77 and 46 constituencies, respectively. Out of these,
AGP managed to win 20 and BJP won 8 seats. The Congress
secured 40% of the votes of the total number of votes
cast exceeding the combined votes cast in favour of
AGP (20%) and BJP (9%). The Congress formed the government
that year with Tarun Gogoi as the Chief Minister.
The next Legislative Assembly elections in Assam were
held in 2006. The Congress this time won 18 seats less,
ending with a tally of 53 seats. The AGP and BJP increased
their seat tally, though marginally. This time they
didn’t have a pre-poll alliance. AGP won four
more seats compared to 2001 elections, ending with a
tally of 24 seats and BJP won 2 more seats, ending with
a tally of 10 seats. Congress managed to gain 31% of
votes cast in their favour whereas AGP and BJP secured
15% and 9% of the votes, indicating declining vote share
for all the three parties.
This time around, a few new political parties also
contested the elections and had a considerable affect
on the voting pattern in the state. One of these was
the Maulana Badruddin Ajmal- led AUDF. The AUDF won
10 seats in the elections and was runners up in 11 constituencies.
It secured 7% of the votes cast and took a considerable
chunk out of the minority votes from the Congress. AUDF
emerged as a strong competitor to Congress in Nagaon
and Dhubri districts, which was earlier a Congress stronghold.
In two constituencies of Dhubri (Dhubri & Salmara
South) and in three constituencies of Nagaon (Roha,
Dhing, Hojai), the AUDF candidate placed the Congress
candidate in the second spot. All these five seats were
won by Congress in the 2001 elections.
The two other new parties, which had an affect on the
voting pattern in the state in the 2006 elections, were
the Bodoland People’s Front (BPF) and the Asom
Gana Parishad (Pragatishil). The BPF was formed of the
members of the erstwhile militant group of Assam, Bodo
Liberation Tigers (BLT), which had signed an accord
with the government in 2003. The BPF won 11 seats in
the elections and joined the Congress to form the government
in the state, with Tarun Gogoi again as the Chief Minister
for the second term. The AGP (P) was formed by the former
Chief Minister of Assam, Prafulla Mahanta after he left
the AGP. The party, though, won only one seat in the
elections out of the 93 contested, it managed to deplete
the vote bank of the AGP in many constituencies. The
AGP (P) later merged with the AGP in 2008.
The recent state assembly elections were held in the
state in two phases, on 4th April and 11th April, 2011.
This is the 13th Legislative Assembly elections in Assam.
The number of registered voters in Assam is 1,81,86,123.
Out of these, 94,00,972 (51.7%) were male and 87,85,151
(48.3%) were female. The voter turnout in the first
phase of the elections was 73.04% with Lakhimpur district
witnessing highest voter turnout of 79.57%, whereas
Dima Hasao district witnessed the lowest turnout with
55.04% voters casting their vote. In the second phase
of elections, the voter turnout was 78.6% with Nalbari
district recording highest voter turnout of 78.31% and
Kamrup (Metro) registering the lowest voter turnout
of 62.01%. Overall, 76.03% of the voters cast their
vote in the elections.
The number of candidates contesting in the first phase
of elections was 485. Out of this, 38 were women candidates.
In the second phase of elections, 496 candidates, including
47 women, contested for the 64 assembly seats. Overall,
981 candidates contested in the Assam Legislative Assembly
elections in 2011. Women candidates constituted 8.7%
of the total contesting candidates (85 out of 981).
The Congress was the only political party to field
candidates in all the 126 constituencies of the state.
This was followed by the BJP with 120 candidates and
Asom Gana Parishad with 104 candidates. The AIUDF fielded
78 candidates whereas the BPF fielded 29 candidates.
The Trinamul Congress too has fielded 102 candidates
in the elections. There are 267 independent candidates
also contesting the elections.
The political scenario has been changing in the state
over the years. There has been rise and falls and victories
and defeats. Again the time has come to witness some
more of such occasions. The results of the 2011 Assam
Legislative Assembly elections are due on May 13, 2011.
Till then, a few questions will be looming large in
the minds of the people. Who will form the next government?
Will it be a coalition government? Whether Tarun Gogoi
will be the Chief Minister for the third term? Will
the AGP and BJP form a post-poll alliance? What would
be the role of the AIUDF and the BPF? These are the
questions which will be answered only after the election
results are out.