Congress bastions in Assam demolished

Guwahati: The BJP, backed by two allies, crushed the Congress in many of its traditional bastions to script its maiden election victory in Assam and the northeast. In the process, the Congress, which had ruled the state since 2001, was routed in the battle for the 126-member assembly. The Bharatiya Janata Party's allies were the Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) and the Bodoland People's Front (BPF). While the BJP won 60 seats on its own, the AGP and BPF secured 14 and 12 seats respectively. The BJP and its partners punched a hole into the tea tribe vote bank of the Congress, particularly in Tinsukia and Dibrugarh districts by winning 11 of the 12 assembly segments. This had been a Congress forte for long. While the BJP-AGP alliance won the Naharkatia, Duliajan, Tingkhong, Chabua, Lahowal, Dibrugarh and Moran seats in Dibrugarh district, it snatched from the Congress three of five constituencies in Tinsukia district: Sadiya, Margherita and Digboi. The BJP has also won the four assembly segments in the two Hill districts of Karbi Anglong and Dima Hasao, where the Congress had been the traditional winner.  While the BJP candidates won from Haflong, Bokajan, Howrghat and Diphu, the Congress could retain only Baithalangso constituency. This is for the first time that the BJP could form a government on its own in the country's northeastern region. BJP's Chief Ministerial candidate Sarbananda Sonowal is likely to take the oath of office on Tuesday. BJP president Amit Shah and Prime Minister Narendra Modi are likely to attend the event. BJP sources said Sonowal and party leader Himanta Biswa Sarma as well as all the BJP Lok Sabha MPs from Assam will leave for New Delhi on Friday evening. Sonowal is likely to meet Modi and resign as a central minister. The BJP on Friday held a meeting of all its legislators here. During the election campaign, the BJP had pledged to protect the "Assamese identity" in the face of unabated illegal infiltration from Bangladesh.