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Is BJP losing ground in Upper Assam?

SIVASAGAR: The BJP today sensed a decline in support among the masses of Upper Assam when Prime Minister Narendra Modi had to address a crowd of only about 60,000 when the state party unit had targeted a 3 lakh-strong gathering.

Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal had recently said the state government was making arrangements for about 3 lakh supporters to congregate during Modi’s rally at Jerenga Pathar in Sivasagar district, which was aimed to be a “show of strength.” Modi launched the distribution of land allocation documents among 1.06 lakh landless natives of the state here.

The crowd comprised mostly beneficiaries, apart from state level and district level leaders of the BJP and the AGP. Security personnel counted to over 5000, a police source said.

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Party insiders candidly admitted that the party was losing base in Upper Assam particularly due to the anti-Citizenship Amendment Act sentiment and the emergence of Raijor Dal and the Assam Jatiya Parishad (AJP).

Both Raijor Dal and AJP have been claiming that many BJP and its ally Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) workers and supporters have been joining the new regional parties over the past month.

However, some other party leaders said rumours about general strikes in parts of Upper Assam and the ongoing poll campaign at grassroots level kept many party workers away from the rally.

At the same time, the party also apparently preferred to keep newly-joined leaders from other parties such as the Congress at the position they deserved.

While some young BJP leaders were seen sharing the dais with party seniors ahead of Modi’s arrival, senior leaders such as Bhubaneswar Kalita, who had switched from the Congress in 2019 to be elected to the Rajya Sabha last year, was seen left out among the crowd. Few other senior leaders of the party too met with similar fate.

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