Assam CM Himanta Biswa Sarma says Congress now a ‘completely’ Muslim party in Assam

The Chief Minister said the Congress in Assam has got the votes of the All India United Democratic Front, a party known to bag the Muslim vote in the State

Updated - June 07, 2024 12:22 pm IST

Published - June 07, 2024 12:49 am IST - GUWAHATI

 Assam CM Himanta Biswa Sarma. File photo

Assam CM Himanta Biswa Sarma. File photo | Photo Credit: ANI

The Lok Sabha election in Assam over three phases saw the Muslims swing from the All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF) to the Congress, Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said.

Saying that the Congress has “completely” become a Muslim party, he said the party’s vote share did not increase at the cost of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

“The BJP’s vote share has also increased. What we have found is that the AIUDF votes have shifted to the Congress,” he told journalists on Thursday.

Also read: NDA Govt Formation Updates

“The results make it clear that the Muslims, who account for 40% of the State’s electorate, have adopted the Congress in Assam. I do not know whether they will remain with the Congress or return to the AIUDF in the 2026 Assembly election,” he said.

Of Assam’s 14 parliamentary constituencies, the AIUDF contested Dhubri, Nagaon and Silchar reserved for the Scheduled Castes. The party suffered a setback in Dhubri where its president, perfume baron Maulana Badruddin Ajmal, lost to Rakibul Hussain of the Congress by more than 10.12 lakh votes.

Mr. Ajmal had won Dhubri thrice in a row from 2009. MLA Aminul Islam and former MP Radheyshyam Biswas finished third in the Nagaon and Silchar seats respectively.

Mr. Sarma said the BJP got a good number of Muslim votes in the Karimganj seat owing to local factors and issues with the Congress candidates.

The BJP won nine of the 11 seats it contested while allies Asom Gana Parishad, which contested two, and United People’s Party Liberal won one seat each. The Congress won three of the 13 seats it contested while its ally Assam Jatiya Parishad failed to bag the Dibrugarh seat.

The Chief Minister said the NDA recorded a vote share of 46.3% compared to the 37.48% of the Congress-led INDIA bloc. “Our vote share increased 10% from that of the 2019 elections. We did better than other parties in 93 of Assam’s 126 Assembly segments compared to 67 in 2019 and we increased our seat count from nine to 11,” he said. “The NDA’s vote percentage increased only in Assam after Odisha,” he added.

Analysing the NDA’s rout in Manipur, Meghalaya and Nagaland, Mr. Sarma said elections in these States were like a “religious war”.

“When religious people take part in politics in those States, politicians cannot compete and their role is minimized. I think this is the reason why we suffered in certain areas of the northeast,” he said, admitting that people expressed their grievances through the EVMs in certain cases.

“The defeat of Agatha K. Sangma (of the National People’s Party in Meghalaya’s Tura seat) by more than 1.5 lakh votes is difficult to comprehend. But we did well in Arunachal Pradesh, Tripura and Sikkim by winning all seats,” he said.

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