GUWAHATI, April 23 - The tally of the ruling BJP will go down substantially in the ongoing Lok Sabha election on account of the government�s failure to fulfil promises and slowdown in the economy, including lack of success on the job creation front, among other reasons, while at the same time helping the Congress party to improve its performance as the voters of Assam and rest of the country are looking for an alternative, said former Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi.
Speaking to The Assam Tribune today, Gogoi said that the Congress party has been able to offer an �alternative package� to the electorate through its manifesto which speaks of Minimum Income Guarantee, loans for young entrepreneurs and filling up of 22 lakh vacancies in government departments by next year, among other things.
�I believe our performance will improve considerably as compared with the last Lok Sabha polls... On the other hand, BJP�s tally will go down by a huge margin. It is mostly because of the economy. They (BJP) are trying to harp on �nationalism� and they are trying to fan divisiveness in society. However, people these days are very conscious. Voters are concerned more about issues like employment and income generation,� he said.
Gogoi claimed the Congress party has been able to catch the imagination of the electorate on account of the various schemes that the party has promised to implement if it emerges victorious in the ongoing parliamentary polls.
�There is the Nyuntam Aay Yojana (NYAY). Besides, we have offered ways to revive the agriculture sector. We have promised to exempt new businesses from applicable laws and regulations for a period of three years to boost employment generation and promote self-employment. If the Congress comes to power, we will fill up the existing vacancies in the government departments by next year. In short, our party has offered an alternative package before the citizens of this country,� said the three-time Chief Minister.
He said there is a lot of dissatisfaction against the Narendra Modi-led government.
�The number one reason why BJP will fare badly in this election is due to the fact that the Modi government has failed on all fronts. The younger generation is particularly unhappy. BJP promised to create two crore jobs each year. Instead, even the existing jobs are vanishing. Many public sector undertakings got closed down rendering lakhs of people destitute. The government failed to control inflation,� Gogoi said.
Asked about the issue of the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill-2016 with regard to Assam, he said, �I must admit that the strong anti-CAB stand of the Congress party helped us. But it would be wrong to say that it helped hundred per cent. We were not able to take the CAB issue to the rural or interior areas. But it did click among the politically and socially conscious voters. CAB came in at No. 3 or 4 among the list of issues in the election. People are more concerned about day-to-day bread and butter issues.�
�Though some may claim otherwise, the fact is that ultimately it is the issue of economy and livelihood that play the most important role in elections. Last time, the BJP won on the issue of price rise and unemployment. They promised to address those but failed. Of course, matters relating to illegal immigrants and that of granting Schedules Tribe (ST) status to six communities were there. But economy was the No. 1 issue.�
Gogoi claimed that a majority of grassroot-level workers of the AGP as well as some sections of BJP cadres in Assam were upset on account of the alliance between the two parties.
He said that most of the traditional AGP supporters and also some segment of BJP supporters have voted for the Congress this time.
Gogoi claimed that the Sarbananda Sonowal-led State government has also failed to perform during the last three years.
�People tend to compare the performance of the serving government with that of previous administrations. Sonowal may allege that I did not do anything during my 15 years as Chief Minister. But where is Sonowal�s achievements? In fact, he has failed to take account of the fact that most of the developmental activities in Assam took place when the Congress was in power. Besides, I challenged him many times to have a public debate with me regarding the respective contributions made by the Central governments headed by Manmohan Singh and Narendra Modi,� said the senior Congress leader.