After a sweeping win in the 2014 elections in the state, BJP is hoping to repeat its victory in Assam. Narendra Modi kickstarted the campaign rally in Assam with two constituency- Moran (in Dibrugarh Constituency) and Gohpur. The same old promises of 2014 were repeated with a newer look and rhetoric. However, speaking to the rally in both the constituency, Modi refrained from any mention of the Citizenship Amendment Bill and the NRC (National Register of Citizens).
Modi promised scheduled tribe status for six communities in Assam. These six communities are: He promised ST status to these communities, who form a huge vote base in the upcoming elections. Speaking at Moran, Dibrugarh Constituency, Modi stated that “The NDA government is seriously considering ST status for the six communities- the Tai Ahom, Matak, Moran, Chutiya, Koch, Rajbhonsi and the Tea tribes.
Modi steered clear from any mention of the burning issue of the NRC and the Citizenship (Amendment Bill). But he cautiously mentioned the Assam Accord and the failure of Congress to deal with infiltration in Assam. He said that only BJP can free Assam from the illegal migrants and terrorists.
At Gohpur Rally in Assam, Modi stated, “The results of the way Congress governments handled infiltration in the 1970s are evident now. Assam and the northeast continue to suffer. When we try to correct this historical blunder, they act hurt, as if their own families are being affected.
He also stated that only BJP-led NDA can “free Assam and the country of illegal migrants and terrorists”.
Speaking in Assam- the tea state, he brought back the ‘chai-wala’ rhetoric. While addressing the tea-workers at Moran polo grounds, he said “They (Congress) not only hate the chowkidar but also the chaiwallahs. I thought they were targeting only one chaiwala but later I found out that be it in Assam or West Bengal from chai grower to chai maker, Congress didn't even care to look towards anyone involved in this process. Otherwise, why you who have been bringing the famous tea from Assam to the world remain neglected for 70 years? Only a chaiwala can understand the hardships of a chai maker”.
Thereby remaining silent on the issue of Citizenship Amendment Bill and the NRC issue. The citizenship Amendment Bill proposes citizenship to Non-Muslims from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan.
Amit Shah addressing a rally in Guwahati, Assam stated that “Assam cannot prosper without Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB). We passed it in the Lok Sabha, but the Centre failed to table it in the Rajya Sabha. The CAB will be added in our manifesto of the Lok Sabha elections and we are committed to taking the Bill to the far reaches of Assam."
However, since Assam is already tackling migration and the NRC, the CAB was met with a lot of criticism. Regional political party AGP (Asom Gana Parishad) walked out of its alliance with BJP over disagreements on the bill. AGP is opposing the CAB and is focussed on the protection of the rights and privileges of the Indigenous people. Congress has also opposed the Bill and promises to end CAB. In such a critical state of affairs, Modi made a conscious choice to avoid the issue altogether.