New Delhi: What can the odds be for a ruling party in a state where the incumbent Chief Minister has already enjoyed two successful terms and where the Prime Minister of the country starts a vicious debate on political responsibility by not voting in his home constituency? Well, as the CNN-IBN-The Week post-poll survey shows, the ruling Congress has nothing to worry about in Assam where the Tarun Gogoi-led government is set to perform an impressive hat-trick on May 13 by winning anything between 64 and 72 seats in the 126-member Assam assembly, while the Prafulla Kumar Mahanta-led AGP may win 16-22 seats, followed by AUDF (11-17) and BJP (7-11).
What is even more significant is that Congress will perform even better than it did in the 2006 assembly elections. The survey says the Congress vote share this year will be 36%, better than the 2006 figure of 31%. So how did this happen? A high 72% of the voters said the performance of the Gogoi government in the last five years was 'good' while only 16% considered it 'very bad'. The survey clearly shows that the Assam voter had development as its prime reason for selecting its next ruler.
With an impressive 63% of the electorate 'satisfied' with the work done by Gogoi, his return to the CM's office looks like a foregone conclusion. On all the major indexes of development - education, health, law and order, roads, electricity, drinking water - he seems to have done better than 2006.
The survey also reveals that the electorate rejected emotive issues like the Muslim migration from Bangladesh, used as a major election plank by the Opposition BJP, or even the ULFA's separatist movement. In a significant revelation, the post-poll survey shows an overwhelming 60% of the electorate calling the ULFA demand for a separate state 'unjustified'. ULFA did call for a boycott of the elections, but did not resort to any violence to subvert them.
The survey also says one of the reasons for Gogoi's performance has been his refusal to align with the AUDF, a party led by industrialist Badruddin Ajmal, which enjoys considerable clout among the Assamese and Bengali Muslims.
The BJP, the second largest national party in the country, will barely win 7-11 seats, the survey says. The saffron party, already conceding a dismal performace in the other states that went to polls this year, has some hopes from the north-eastern state. Narendra Modi, the towering mascot of the party, attacked the the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for not casting his vote in Assam (PM and his wife Gursharan Kaur are officially the residents of Dispur district where polling was held in the second phase on April 11), yet there was little that the party could do to salvage itself when its fate was already sealed in the EVMs.