NEW DELHI, March 3 � The Congress-led Assam Government may have� bombarded the State with a slew of development projects to woo the electorate, but All India Congress Committee (AICC) in-house survey predicts only 42 seats for the ruling party.
The pre-poll survey for Assam has forecast a rather gloomy picture for Assam Congress ahead of the polls though no clear winner has emerged, if the reports are anything to go by, a senior AICC leader told this newspaper.
According to the survey report, Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) will get 39 seats, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) 26 seats and All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF) 19 seats, said sources.
The survey was reportedly conducted by a prestigious market research organisation with a large sample of over 1 lakh voters per constituency, said sources.
However, the findings have been questioned by Assam Congress leaders including Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi.
Though the State Congress has been given only 42 seats, there is a catch. The surveyors were told to visit only difficult seats, leaving out those seats, where the ruling Congress is on a strong wicket.
As a result of which, Legislative Assembly Constituencies like Jalukbari, Moran, Margherita, Titabor, Samaguri, among others, which the Congress Party is reasonably confident of retaining have been left out of the survey, sources said.
Besides, the surveyors also left out the entire Bodoland Territorial Council (BTC) Areas ruled by Congress ally Bodoland Peoples Front (BPF).
Assam Congress leaders, when contacted, admitted that they were aware of the survey report but do not agree with its findings.
The survey report has given 42 seats to Congress Party, leaving out about 10-12 seats, where no survey was conducted but the Congress is expected to retain. Together, the tally is expected to be come to about 54 seats and with the help of allies like BPF, the ruling combine is expected to romp home, said the leader.
Interestingly, the Congress Party has decided to snap ties with BPF and fight the ensuing Assembly polls alone.
However, the survey report may have grave implications for the Tarun Gogoi Government, as it has also predicted that if Congress and AIUDF joins hands before the polls, they are likely to wrest 82 seats.
The findings may mean that the AICC may be forced to revisit the issue of alliance with AIUDF, which Gogoi has been vehemently resisting. AIUDF chief Badruddin Ajmal too has ruled out the possibility of fighting the polls with Congress as its alliance partner, opting to fight the polls alone.
However, the Congress Party�s minority members have already started making noise, pointing to AIUDF�s aggressive campaign in minority-dominated areas of lower Assam. They have also conveyed to the AICC their misgiving over the timing of the split in Jamiat Ulema-e-Hind (HUJ).
Ajmal�s faction was ousted from JUH by Arshad Madani�s group in a move backed by the Congress Party, leaving the senior Ajmal seething with anger.