Rhetoric rather than issues dominates Assam elections

March 23rd, 2009 - 11:10 am ICT by IANS  

Bharatiya Janata Party By Syed Zarir Hussain
Guwahati, March 23 (IANS) There is a bitter war of words as rival political parties in Assam are busy trading charges and counter charges in the run up to the general elections, although no party has any tangible issue this time.

Assam goes to the polls for its 14 Lok Sabha seats in two phases, April 16 and 23.

“Antics rather than issues are the dominant feature noticeable in the electioneering so far by almost all political parties,” said Arup Bora, a college teacher and a columnist.

Issues have gone for a toss with leaders of major political parties hopping from one election rally to another accusing their rivals.

“We are the real followers of Ram (Hindu God), while the BJP (Bharatiya Janata Party) loves demolishing religious institutions of other faiths…. Hinduism does not preach breaking religious institutions of other faiths,” Assam chief minister Tarun Gogoi said in an election meeting while campaigning for the Congress party.

Political rhetoric is getting louder by the day with the opposition combine of the Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) and the BJP equally launching a vitriolic tirade against the ruling party.

“The chief minister of the state surrendered meekly and bowed down begging for money from the tea industry for election funds,” senior AGP leader Atul Bora alleged.

With local television channels and newspapers splashing some of the quotable quotes, people are taking the politicians with a large pinch of salt.

“The recent slander campaign by political parties is providing the people of Assam with a dose of raw humour,” said Sandhya Bora, a doctor.

“I think such speeches bordering on personal attacks would fail to impact the voters who in my opinion would this time judge the merit of the candidates rather than their political affiliations while casting their ballot,” engineering student Arun Lochan Bora said.

But political parties are unperturbed by the reaction.

“We have to expose the ills of the AGP-BJP combine,” the chief minister told IANS.

“Development works done by our government are visible and the people of Assam are politically conscious and would surely not fall into the AGP-BJP trap of false promises and hate campaigns.”

Whether or not the political rhetoric impacts the voters remains to be seen. But for the time being the fiery and sometimes witty speeches are spicing up the mood with election fever gripping the state of 2.6 million people.

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