By Express News Service
GUWAHATI: The hotchpotch alliance of 10 opposition parties with contrasting ideologies, which also had no chief ministerial face, found few takers eventually.
The “Mahajot”, formed two months ago to oust BJP, was led by Congress. It faced a leadership crisis and got riddled with factionalism following the death of former Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi.
The Congress and minority-based All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF) had come together to thwart the split of anti-BJP and anti-Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) votes. In 2016, their combined vote share was more than the winning candidates of the BJP-led alliance in 14 seats.
If the alliance paid dividends in the Bengali-majority central and lower Assam besides Barak Valley, it cost the Congress dear in the Assamese-dominated upper part of the state. In a state grappling with the problem of illegal migration from Bangladesh, voters in upper Assam were upset that Congress aligned with AIUDF, perceived to be the protector of illegal immigrants.
“The alliance with the AIUDF affected us greatly in upper Assam,” a Congress insider said.
Of other reasons, he said Congress had a leadership vacuum after Gogoi’s death. “People did not accept the leadership of state Congress chief Ripun Bora. As we did not have a CM face, people got confused.”
Further, the two new parties, Raijor Dal and Asom Jatiya Parishad, caused a split of the anti-BJP and anti-AGP votes in several seats, thereby affecting the Congress. Congress also overestimated or miscalculated the anti-CAA sentiments. Even as it campaigned aggressively, several leaders of the anti-CAA movement joined BJP.