ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Assam’s 2019 Verdict and the Anti-CAB Mobilisations

What explains the electoral success of the Bharatiya Janata Party in the general elections in Assam in the face of huge mobilisations against the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill? The failure of the mobilisations to project an alternative, the BJP’s hold among tea tribe communities, and the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh activism at the grassroots are possible reasons that blunted the impact of the anti-CAB mobilisations. However, ongoing protests against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act could unsettle the calculations of theBJP in Assam.

The author expresses gratitude to the anonymous referee for their comments on this article, Paul Wallace for his comments on another version of the article to be published by Sage in a volume edited by Wallace, and the UGC-SAP (DRS II) programme granted to the Department of Political Science, Gauhati University for financial assistance.

The question of how the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) averted the unprecedented dissent against the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill (CAB) in Assam and registered a landslide victory in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections were vividly discussed in two articles recently published in EPW (the first by Deepankar Basu and Debarshi Das titled “Assam: BJP’s Consolidation, Congress’s Lost Opportunities” published on 22 June 2019 and the second by Dhruba Pratim Sharma and Vikas Tripathi with the title “Assam 2019: NDA Deepens Its Dominance,” which appeared in the 24 August 2019 issue). Both the articles raised a set of critical questions about the electoral outcomes in the state and answered them using statistical evidences primarily drawn from the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies (CSDS) survey data. Though both the articles provided important insights concerning the electoral processes and outcomes in the state, they, however, missed a few pressing political questions in their analyses.

This article addresses four issues that shed light on the electoral dynamics and outcomes in the 2019 elections in the state. Post the 2019 elections, Assam witnessed two significant developments: publication of the final list of the National Register of Citizens (NRC) and the enactment of the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA). Both these developments, particularly the enactment of the CAA, brought about unprecedented political mobilisations. This article therefore strives to highlight the two developments and explores the BJP’s future prospects in the state.

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Updated On : 31st Dec, 2019
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