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Assam Election Results 2021: Sonowal Thanks Modi for Victory, Himanta Says BJP Will Decide Next CM After 5th Straight Win


Last Updated: May 03, 2021, 00:28 IST

File photo of Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal.

File photo of Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal.

The Congress has claimed during campaigning the state has "two chief ministers", in an apparent reference to rumours of Sarma and Sonowal being rival power centres.

The BJP managed to beat the incumbency factor as well as massive anti-CAA (Citizenship Amendment Act) sentiments with the ruling NDA was ahead of the Congress-led Grand Alliance with leads and wins in 73 seats in the 126-member House in Assam. Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal won from Majuli constituency, Finance and Health Minister and BJP’s star campaigner Himanta Biswa Sarma won from Jalukbari for the fifth straight term. Incarcerated anti-CAA activist Akhil Gogoi won from Sibsagar, according to Assam assembly election results.

The BJP won or led in a total of 58 seats while its ally AGP won or led in nine and the UPPL in six. Sonowal said the people had blessed them. “A victory for Barak-Brahmaputra, Hills & Plains. Thank you Hon’ble PM Narendra Modi," he said. “We can say for sure that the BJP will form government in Assam. We are coming back to power with our partners AGP and UPPL," Sonowal told reporters. Sarma said the BJP will soon form the government in the state and the party will decide who will be made the next chief minister.

The BJP had projected the then Union minister Sarbananda Sonowal as its chief minister before the assembly polls in 2016, but the ruling party did not announce any name for the top post this time. Speculations were rife that Sarma would be the new CM.

“I do not want to talk about this. Our parliamentary board will decide about it," Sarma told reporters when asked if he would be the next chief minister. The Congress has repeatedly claimed during campaigning that the state has “two chief ministers", in an apparent reference to rumours of Sarma and Sonowal acting as rival power centres.

The Election Commission began counting votes for the 126 assemblies in Assam elections amid a three-tier security arrangement and strict adherence to Covid-19 protocols. The vote-counting is underway across 331 halls.

The voting for the Assam Assembly elections, which was held in three phases — March 27, April 1, and April 6, was concluded on April 6 with an impressive turnout of 82.04%.

In Assam, the BJP is in alliance with the regional parties of Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) and United People’s Party Liberal (UPPL), forming the ‘Mitrajot’. The Congress formed ‘Mahajot’ (Grand Alliance) with All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF), Bodoland People’s Front (BPF), Communist Party of India (Marxist) (CPI-M), Communist Party of India (Marxist–Leninist) Liberation (CPI (ML)L), Anchalik Gana Morcha (AGM) and Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD).

On Saturday, the Chief Election Commissioner (CEC), Sushil Chandra, reviewed the counting arrangements with senior EC officers and the CEOs of the four states and the UT at a virtual meeting on Saturday. He directed that all laid-down instructions of the EC must be adhered to. He also directed that the counting halls must be fully COVID guidelines compliant.

The commission has designated 822 returning officers and more than 7,000 assistant returning officers for the purpose of counting of votes in the four states. Nearly 95,000 counting officials, including micro-observers, will perform the task of counting. No candidates or their agents will be allowed inside the counting halls without a negative coronavirus report, according to the latest result-day guidelines issued by the EC.

Upper Assam is the biggest among all the three major regions in the state, with 56 Assembly seats. The electorate in 47 of these constituencies is voting on Saturday, March 27, in the first phase. The electoral outcome in this region is crucial in determining the fate of the next government in many ways.

First, this is the biggest region in Assam, accounting for nearly 44 per cent of the total Assembly seats in the state—whichever party has a decisive lead here would inch closer to forming the next government in the state. Second, this has been a stronghold of the ruling BJP since the last few elections, where the party (and its alliance partner/s) has not only increased its vote share but also widened the vote share gap with the main opposition party, the Congress (see chart below). Third, in pre-Covid Assam, this region saw a much intense protest, compared to rest of Assam, against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act or CAA. Many students and student unions had participated in protests; therefore, it would be interesting to see how people in this region vote.

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