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November 15, 2010

Assam: Abnormal rise in voters alarming

SILCHAR, Nov 14: Assam’s invasion by Bangladeshis from silent to open has more or less become a fait accompli. With no let up, the unabated influx is casting ominous shadow on the demographic profile of Assam. According to the projected figure of 2011 census as revealed in The Statistical Handbook of Assam published by the State Government, indigenous people will be reduced to minority by 2081. The revised and updated electoral rolls for the Assembly elections of 2011 have brought into focus many disturbing trends. The final lists were walled up on September 15 last across the 25 districts of the State by the Election Commission. Rise in the number of voters in minority dominated districts remains steady. Against the average rise of 3.29 per cent voters in one year in the State as a whole, it has been abnormally four to seven per cent in the minority dominated districts.
The total number of voters as on date, according to the published documents by the State Election Commission, is 1,79,53,112 which as enumerated before the Parliamentary elections of 2009 was 1,74,43,619, an increase of 5,71,445 voters just in one year which has caused alarm among the ethnic and indigenous people of Assam. Quite alarming has been the rise in the border districts of Dhubri (6.81 per cent), Goalpara (4.83 per cent), Hailakandi (4.56 per cent), Karimganj (3.96 per cent) as well as Nagaon. Even the inner district of Barpeta rocked by the violent protests of All Assam Minority Students’ Union (AAMSU) over National Register of Citizens’ revision (NRC) update, now kept in abeyance by a shaky Tarun Gogoi led Congress Government, swamped by infiltrators, has registered 4.07 per cent rise. Other districts away from the Bangladesh border which are on the fast track of influx of aliens are Bongaigaon (6.79 per cent), Kamrup (5.20 per cent), Udalguri (3.90 per cent), Darrang (4.41 per cent), Dhemaji (4.50 per cent) and Karbi Anglong (4.11 per cent).
Significantly, Morigaon district which was projected to become another Muslim majority area by 2011 has recorded moderate rise in the number of voters (1.51 per cent). Upper Assam districts of Jorhat, Golaghat, Sivasagar, Dibrugarh and Tinsukia have seen more or less normal growth rate of less than two per cent. This has been attributed to sustained campaign by AASU, BJP, BJYM and ABVP about the menace of infiltration without any dilution and ambiguity which has caught the psyche of Assamese population in general.
From all reckoning, in six of the 25 districts of Assam, religious minority holds the key to electoral battle and its outcome. At present, of the 126 Assembly seats in the Assembly and 14 in Lok Sabha, religious minority has 25 and two representatives respectively. It has been pointed out after all the calculation and permutation that in the 2011 Assembly elections, the religious minority will be able to win at least 34 seats and play crucial role in another 20 constituencies.
How unabated infiltration has impacted adversely the demographic structure of the State can well be understood from the fact that Assam with 7,88,438 sq km of geographical area had a population of 2,66,38,407 as per 2001 census with a density of 286 persons per sq km which is higher than the national average of 267 persons per sq km. Dhubri and Goalpara which are teeming with infiltrators have the highest population density of 470 persons per sq km.
It has gone on record that rise in number of voters during 1966-1996 in 14 Assembly constituencies was over 100 per cent and in 43 constituencies over 80 per cent. The increase over the 30 year period was of the order of over 200 per cent in some constituencies. In one year during the period under question, the rise was 20 per cent in 25 constituencies and 10 per cent in 105 constituencies. Alarmed at the phenomenon, the Chief Election Commission of India had then directed the State Government to undertake comprehensive and critical review of the electoral rolls of the constituencies with abnormal rise in the number of voters in order to purge them of the names of foreigners. The AGP led Government of Prafulla Kumar Mahanta was not any way different. It preferred to ignore the directive and toed Congress just for the sake of political survival.
Buoyed up by tilting balance in its favour, All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF) chief Badaruddin Ajmal with 10 seats in the Assembly in its maiden electoral battle of 2006 has decided to go it alone with an eye on the 36 constituencies with sizeable minority presence to play decisive role in the formation of government at Dispur. AGP-BJP tie up which alone could save the State and stem the flow of infiltrators could not sustain, much to the disappointment of people of the State. Taking advantage of the fluid situation, Congress which has gone all hog with election oriented welfare schemes and projects including the most ludicrous “one hospital a day” and huge financial bonanza for minorities in particular is desperate to remain at the citadel of power for the third consecutive term. Political analysts however do not rule out the possibility of post poll understanding or adjustment of AGP with BJP.
Leaving aside the political fall out of fast changing demography, it is quite staggering to think of escalating number of voters each year which in another decade, if the trend is not reversed, will touch more than half crore mark. The projected population of Assam for 2011 has been shown as 3,57,000,00, a rise of 90,61,593 heads just in ten years from 2001. Everything has fallen silent on the crucial question of border management with glaring holes and the measures to stem the flow of infiltrators. It appears for the Congress led Government at Delhi and Dispur, infiltration issue can best be put under wraps as winning elections are more important than be bothered with the safety and security of the country. (SentinelAssam)

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