Regional political campaigns- does simplicity still work?

A convinient win

Continued from ‘Surprisingly barter system and politics are still working. Who’s checking?

3)      Convenience: AssamWith the INC reigning in power for two terms in a row, it would have been logical for Assam to vote for a change. But Assam seems to be in a mood for another West Bengal, handing the reins of the state to the INC for the third time. The party has been successfully able to retain its power, and the chief minister was able to retain his post.

Since 2001, when Tarun Gogoi became Chief Minister of Assam for the first time, not much has changed in the state. At the advent of the new century, an Assamese’s per capita income was only 30% of an average Indian’s.  Inadequate infrastructure, ineffective governance, poor policies have led to the grossly accumulated debt of the state. With minimal investment rolling in, a falling agro- growth index and a stagnant per capita income irrespective of the inflation, there was a lot the Chief Minister had to worry about.  Add to that other severe issues such as illegal migration from Bangladesh & Myanmar, corruption and last but not the least, the armed rebellion of Maoists. Over the past decade, Tarun Gogoi has even earned the title of “gaonburah” or “village headman” since most of the towns has started looking like villages. 

Despite this endless list of disappointments, there seems to be no major discontent from the public, and even from the fragmented opposition. What has helped the INC win over the Janata third time around is the government’s peace process with the Maoists. Even though they haven’t been able to provide the much-needed development to the State across, the INC’s success in providing stability to a fragmented state and a troubled public has helped establish the credibility.

In this year’s campaign trail, the Assam Pradesh Congress committee ensured tremendous focus to highlight stability and peace. It leveraged a 360-degree approach of print, radio and electronic channels to establish the same as its overarching message, and emerge as champions of the people’s cause. Assam’s largest opposition, Asom Gana Parishad (AGP), just about entered a paltry double- digit figure of 10 seats, while the Saffron Brigade and other smaller groups managed to secure scanty pockets. The reason was simply that the meager opposition had nothing to offer, not a dream, not a vision, or not even an empty promise. 

In the end, INC’s success in providing stability (if not development) to the state resulted in a convenient win for the incumbent leader.  The opposition was once again banished by people’s mandate, the reason simply being no plan, no communication, no connect.

Written by Rishi Vaidya for Image Management

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