With three more days to go for the first phase of polling to begin on April 4, political parties have intensified their campaigning in Upper Assam’s tea belt where tea tribe communities hold the trump card.
Tea labourers — with roots in Jharkhand, Chotanagpur, Orissa and other parts of central India — are a deciding factor in as many as 32 of the 126 Assembly seats in Assam.
Traditionally, the tea belt has been a strong hold of the Congress, but this time all is not well as the BJP has not only been able to make their presence felt here, but also pose a formidable challenge for veteran tea tribe leaders to save their seats.
The BJP has fielded nine candidates from the tea tribe and Adivasi community, besides making special references for their welfare in the vision documents and manifesto of the party.
Although the Assam Chah Mazdoor Sangha (ACMS), the trade union wing of the Congress, is trying its best to retain its hold in the tea belt, the BJP, by roping in AGP leader Sarbananda Sonowal, has ensured that Assamese vote bank has been added to party’s profile, adding more pressure on the Congress in its traditional strong hold.
The Northeast in-charge of the BJP, P. Chandrashekhar said, “BJP is confident of garnering the vores of the tea tribe and Adivasi voters,. The party also hopes to get support of Assamese voters after Sarbananda Sonowal’s inclusion into the party. This has given us a clear edge over the Congress in tea belt of the state.” Asian Age