The ruling BJP has swept the Karbi Anglong Autonomous Council elections by winning all the 26 seats to which polls were held on Wednesday, prompting Assam chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma to declare that the state was on its way to becoming Congress-mukt.
That the BJP would be winning big was almost a given going by the mood on the ground and the high decibel campaign led by Sarma who attended 19 meetings in over four days towards the end while party MLAs and ministers were all over the place mobilising support. In comparison, the Opposition rank looked listless, observers said.
Sarma said on Monday that the BJP winning all the seats was not important, the winning margin was.
He then rattled off the overall votes polled by the ruling party (2,25,999) compared to Congress’s 60,760, the AAP’s 15,513 and Independents 97,903 (mostly from the newly floated All Party Hills Leaders Conference).
The final results were declared by the Assam State Election Commission (ASEC) on Sunday night.
“Last time seats were decided for less than 1,000 votes, in some seats less than 100 votes, but this time the average winning margin was around 5,000. It was one-sided. The mandate is both overwhelming and scary because it has put a lot of responsibility on us because people’s expectations are high,” he said.
The BJP had won 24 of the 26 seats in 2017.
Congratulating the winning candidates and party workers for the resounding win, Sarma tweeted: “... Assam is on its way to becoming Congress-mukt. After drawing blank in Rajya Sabha & Guwahati municipal polls, the party has now zero member in KAAC.”
He rubbed it in by adding that the Congress has lost all the eight elections held in the past one year in Assam, starting with the 2021 Assembly election, which was won by the BJP-led alliance.
Though he said that Assam was on its way to becoming Congress-mukt, he exhorted party members not to get complacent because Congress would still be their main rival in the upcoming polls, virtually dismissing the AAP or the Trinamul that are trying to create a space for themselves in the state.
Prime minister Narendra Modi was the first to announce during campaigning for the 2014 general elections that the people of India wanted a Congress-mukt Bharat, something which has been extensively used by the BJP during polls even now. Already the Congress has lost power in all the northeastern states.
“I am bit scared with the huge mandate because our responsibility has increased manifold. There is no opposition... and we should ensure we don’t do a bad job of the responsibility entrusted on us and create an opposition,” he said, adding the huge victory was a “true affirmation of public trust” in Modi’s vision of Sabka Saath Sabka Vishwas.
Hailing the win, Modi tweeted: “Historic results in Karbi Anglong! I thank the people for their continuous faith in BJP and assure them that we will keep working for Assam’s progress. The efforts of BJP Karyakartas have been outstanding. Kudos to them.”
Congress said the mandate was along expected lines because the people in the hill districts usually went with the ruling dispensation.
They were, however, hoping to do well in eight seats. The result is the second straight polls after the Guwahati municipal corporation polls where it failed to open its account.
Indiscipline and lack of motivation was hurting the party, a Congress insider said.