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13th March; 2011

The ensuing election in the next month has inevitably rocked the political weather of Assam. The names of Tarun Gogoi, Himanta Biswa Sharma, Chandra Mohon Patowary, Prafulla Mahanta, Badruddin Ajmal, Rockybul are the names one will find the pages of State Dailies. While ruling Congress Party is preparing to make a hatrick to occupy the places in Dispur, the oppositions are greatly diverged in their political ideology.

For the last two election Indian National Congress did well under the tutelage of incumbent CM Mr. Tarun Gogoi. The real question that comes forward this time is the possibility of a coalition governmet lead by Congress with the help of Bodoland Peaple's Front. Can they repeat the history once more or Assam is really going to be a hung legislative assembly?

The oppositions in Assam is in the state of disarrayed as the main opposition party AGP (Assam Gana Parishad) is limping due to their internal clash and the next party BJP (Bharatiya Janata Party) is not enough powerful to capture a majority of the votes or even to capture more than 15 seats. (at present BJP has 10 MLAs in their fold while AGP holds 28 seats).

16th March; 2011

Talk about students' politics in Assam and the first name that crops up in everybody's mind is All Assam Students' Union (Aasu) and the six-year agitation it led against illegal immigrants between 1979 and 1985. It's not only that Aasu went on to become a force to reckon with in every Assamese household, the struggle that it spearheaded is still considered one of the most vigorous mass movements in the country after 1947.

Despite the merciless butchery of over 2,000 Bengali-speaking Muslims in Nellie during the height of the Assam Agitation in 1983, Aasu managed to force the then state government to identify and expel the illegal migrants following the signing of Assam Accord in 1985. The students' union, finally, turned out to be the cradle of the largest regional party in the state, the Asom Gana Parishad (AGP), which swept the 1985 assembly elections and formed the government in Dispur.

Over two decades have passed since then, and Assam has seen several other students' organizations such as the All Bodo Students' Union (Absu), which launched the Bodoland movement, and the Assam Koch Rajbongshi Students Union (Akrsu) that is fighting for restoration of peace in the region. Besides, there are organizations like the All Adivasi Students' Association of Assam (Aasa) and the Assam Tea Tribes Students' Association (Attsa) fighting for Scheduled Tribe status for the communities that they represent.

However, the movements by ABSU, AKRSU, AASA and ATTSA have rarely reached the height of the Assam Agitation. The students of Assam once known for their active involvement in the state's socio-political domain are seemingly shying away from politics, to be more precise from politicians. And they blame the rising trend of vote-bank politics for this. Fed up with the "false promises" made by politicians irrespective of their political colours during every elections, they want voters to use their democratic power more wisely. Their message is loud and clear: "Don't vote for parties. Cast your ballots in favour of candidates who deserve to be in the corridors of power."
AGP pits Mahanta against Hussain in Samaguri


AAMSU(All Assam Minorities Students' Union):

President Abdur Rahim Ahmed says

"The people of the state should elect candidates who are honest and brave enough to rise above petty political gains and work for the development for the common people. From unemployment to floods and erosions, there are numerous problems that the common people in the state are suffering from. It's not possible to solve all these problems overnight. It requires tremendous hard work and, most importantly, the political will to make life better."

"As a students' organization, we will urge the people that they should remember that Assam needs lawmakers who can bring in positive changes and work for development. We need leaders who will have the courage to cross all political hurdles towards the making of a developed Assam."

Talk to any Assam Tai Ahom Students Union (Atasu) official, you get the same sentiment. "There have been plethora of promises. But nothing has happened in reality. We have seen over the years what our successive governments have done for us. Be it the Congress or the AGP, the results have been the same. There has not been any development in the state. What we think is that instead of looking for any party, we should concentrate on candidates who can solve the state's problems," Atasu general secretary Moyur Borgohain says. "All of us should use their democratic right judiciously. They should have the mental toughness not to get lured by the false promises of politicians," he adds.

In the meantime, the current leadership of Aasu feels that the electorate should favour candidates who have the will to solve the problems of the state politically. "We believe in a simple logic. Vote for those who can work at the ground level and solve our problems, who will always support the indigenous people of the state and continue to fight for their interests," feels Aasu president Shankar Prasad Rai.

Akrsu president Biswajit Roy says, "It's time to bat for those who will be responsible enough to work for the social causes. Governments come and governments go. But there's no end to the state's problems. Forget what the leaders pledge ahead of elections. People should elect candidates those who are honest enough to work for the common people."

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