United Liberation F

United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA). This is again the first time any CM candidate is contesting from Majuli.As a curtain-raiser the BJP in February laid down the foundation of the Jorhat-Lakhimpur (via Majuli) bridge over the Brahmaputra to connect it with the mainland The bridge has been a long-standing demand of the local people whose only connection with the outside world is an hour-long ferry boat service that links the island to Jorhat town Prime Minister Narendra Modi poses with BJP’s Sarbananda Sonowal as he is given a traditional Assamese mask at an election rally at Majuli Island AFP The BJP has also dangled the carrot of a Unesco World Heritage Site status for Majuli "The Centre will take steps to declare Majuli a Unesco World Heritage Site" Sonowal has promised Incidentally the island has been vying for the World Heritage tag since 2004 but lost out every time due to poorly prepared proposals (which lack technical details and fail to comply with Unesco rules) by ASI-hired consultants something that was pointed out by the comptroller and auditor-general (CAG) in its 2013 report But is that all the BJP is pinning its hopes on to win the elections In a state where over 30 percent of the electorate comprises Muslim population the party seems to be trying hard to gain votes by consolidating the Hindu (including the ST) votes in its favour And this is where Majuli and its satras (Vaishnavite monasteries) hold the key Satras across the state have been facing land encroachment by suspected Muslim immigrants from Bangladesh A reserved (ST) constituency Majuli happens to be the main centre of Vaishnavite culture a monotheistic offshoot of Hinduism that doesn’t believe in idol worship and is opposed to the caste system Of the 800-odd satras across the state there were around 60 in Majuli which have come down to almost half In an election centered around the "Assamese identity" issue the BJP according to a few party insiders is hoping to make major gains by polarising the votes The saffron party seems to be confident that the satras fit the bill for its Hindutva brand of politics Just like the RSS and the VHP the Hindu flag-bearers in the Hindi heartland the influential socio-cultural institution of Assam commands not just tremendous respect among Assamese Hindus but also wields a great deal of political influence However the satras so far have maintained political neutrality and never indulged in communal politics For the first time in the recent past satras got embroiled in a political controversy when Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi kicked up a storm by saying that RSS workers stopped him from entering the Barpeta Satra in December 2015 The head priest of the satra Bakhista Deba Sarma though debunked Gandhi’s claim saying "There is no RSS agent in the satra It is a religious place and only religious activities are undertaken here" But many in the Congress pointed out the incident as an instance of the satras’ growing proximity to the saffron brigade The Congress is trying its best to avoid a repeat of the 2014 Lok Sabha elections in which the BJP recorded a stellar performance by winning seven of the 14 seats (Congress won just three seats) If the BJP has made it a war to "protect the Assamese identity" the Congress too has its arsenal ready Accusing the saffron party of trying to divide the voters on religious lines Tarun Gogoi while releasing the Congress manifesto made a headline-grabbing claim that he is a “real” Hindu and that those in the BJP were “fake” "Our real Hinduism does not teach us to hate other faiths The Assamese brand of Hinduism has taught us to be secular and tolerant” the chief minister said This is exactly why the shrewd politician in Gogoi decided to make Dalit Phd scholar from Hyderabad University Rohith Vemula and JNU student leader Kanhaiya Kumar the faces of the Congress campaign When the Congress put up posters with images of Kanhaiya and Rohith many dismissed it as a poll tactic far removed from the reality of Assam But Gogoi and the Congress saw in the duo their best bet to project the BJP as anti-backward and-minority populations File photo of a flooded river island in the Brahmaputra river in Majuli Reuters Assam has a mixed population that includes a number of ethnic and linguistic groups belonging to various religions A number of those ethnic and backward groups have been demanding ST status (Morans Muttucks Chutias Koch-Rajbongshis Tea Tribes and Tai Ahoms) In such a scenario trying to overshadow the ethnic identity with religious affinity will only further divide the population "The BJP is hoping that in a polarised scenario the Hindu votes would come to it The party has always depended on the Hindu card but in Assam there is no such thing as a Hindu vote bank So it is trying to exploit the sentiments of the tea community and people attached to the satras" says Bhagirath Karan chairman of the Congress tea cell The voters’ view When Modi was addressing a gathering in Tinsukia on 26 March around 200 km away in Majuli 21-year-old Gunomoni Mahanta was listening intently to the PM his eyes glued to the TV screen Modi’s below-average attempt to emotionally connect with the Assamese people with an "I-sold-Assam-tea-as-a tea-seller" didn’t seem to impress the second-year-old BSc student much He was still hopeful that the PM will say something "more meaningful and less pretentious" in his next stop at Majuli (later in the day) "It’s nice of him (Modi) to come all the way to visit us No other PM bothered to do that but I’ve a small complaint: where was he when Assam was inundated by floods Why didn’t he come even once when so many people lost their lives and land" wonders Mahanta who is equally disillusioned with Congress MLA Rajib Lochan Pegu for failing to bring any respite to Majuli despite serving three full terms For an island that stands eroded more than half (to just 520 sq km at present from an area of almost 1200 sq km) the ground reality doesn’t seem to have changed much even two decades after Sanjay Ghose’s murder The island and its people continue to face threats to their survival Interestingly the anti-talk faction of the ULFA has accused Sonowal along with BJP leader Himanta Biswa Sarma of conspiring Sanjoy Ghose’s murder In a recent emailed statement the Paresh Barua-led faction accused the two leaders who were once members of the powerful All Assam Students’ Union (AASU) of using ULFA cadres to kill Ghosh and a student leader Saurav Bora who was shot dead in 1986 Sonowal and five others were the prime accused in the murder but were later discharged by the Gauhati High Court due to lack of material evidence to prove the charges Even though BJP has dismissed the statement and questioned its timing (just ahead of the elections) the fact remains that while parties and politicians will continue to raise and kill issues to stay afloat the onus lies on the voters to separate the wheat from the chaff

Senior separatist leader, Life in the Valley was partially affected due to the protest shutdown call.Patna: Union Minister Uma Bharti on Friday took a dig at Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar for banning sale and production of country-made liquor in the state Himmat dikhaiye videshi sharab bhi bandh kar dijiye (What have you done Nitishji? not even love. Amitabh Bachchan, "They (BJP) are not interested in development of the communities but want to divide them, Its only job is to divide people, Kim says in the clip, “We were alerted about the incident at 8.

and then go in for strategic disinvestment of three profit-making subsidiaries. "Around the world most public sector airlines like Lufthansa, Hansraj Ahir said that Indian Army has been giving a befitting reply to infiltrators trying to sneak into India through the LoC.Yavatmal: Minister of State for Home Hansraj Ahir on Thursday said Pakistan is like a "chronic disease" which the government is trying to contain The Chinese are bent on ejecting the Indian army from their entrenched positions in the area and have said that unless Indian soldiers go back to their former positions, The simple fact is that the Indian army is on a higher ground and is better placed than the Chinese soldiers in the plateau. vice-president of the Congress in the state, However, The police tell them that the case is being handled by Abhishek. Bhujbal.

department of telecommunications, Tamil and Kannada movies. Suranga Lakmal, They are not dependent on anyone from outside the village. followed by the seizure of gutkha worth Rs 1. in fact, download Indian Express App More Related NewsWritten by Komal RJ Panchal | New Delhi | Updated: March 4, Sonu Walia lodged a FIR at the Bangur Nagar Police Station.respectively) are particularly affected. Similarly.

Lok Sabha Secretariat sought an explanation from Vadra?Robert Vadra In short, Its problems cannot always be solved by more rules. Representational image. The Lok Sabha bypoll was caused by the demise of former union minister E Ahmed. alleged she had been raped by him. But the game was only about winning.

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