NEW DELHI, April 1 � Is Assam heading for a hung Assembly? If a latest opinion poll report is any indication, then the ruling Congress Party is predicted to fall short of majority and get only 46 seats with 32 per cent vote share. Smaller regional parties are tipped to be the next kingmaker.
A pre-poll survey carried out by India Today, Headline Today, Mail Today ORG Opinion poll has forecasted 38 seats for AGP with 25 per cent vote share, while both BJP and AIUDF are projected to win 15 seats cornering only 12 per cent and 14 per cent vote share, respectively. Other smaller regional parties though may hold the key to the next government formation with 12 seats and 16 per cent vote share.
The report said if the AGP does pull off a ground-level understanding with the BJP in key constituencies, the numbers could become even more negative for the Congress.
The BJP, which has made corruption and price-rise its major campaign issues, seems convinced that it was the end of the road for the Tarun Gogoi Government in Assam. It believed that there was an undercurrent of support for the party that could sweep the Congress out of office and stop Gogoi from returning to power for a third straight time.
Tarun Gogoi�s gambit of engaging ULFA in talks ahead of the polls may have clicked, with the survey stating that 36.7 per cent voters are likely to vote for him because he initiated the peace talks with the militant outfit. A majority of 43 per cent have also stated that they were happy with that the Centre has started dialogue with ULFA and 26.5 per cent responded in negative.
A majority of 38.7 per cent of those surveyed also expected the talks with ULFA to be fruitful and 24.1 per cent responding in negative.
Another leading question was whether the present Congress-led government should be re-elected or a change of government at the State was preferred. Those for re-election of the ruling Congress was 41.1 per cent and those who favoured change was 26 per cent and those with no opinion was placed at 32.3 per cent.
At least 38.9 per cent of those surveyed said they had voted for the ruling Congress, last time and 11.8 per cent said they had voted in favour of BJP and 61 per cent voted for other parties. For 54.9 per cent the party matters most, while for 38 per cent the image of a candidate was more important than the party.
Meanwhile, the poll survey said the importance of the problem of illegal migration from Bangladesh may have gone down, as opinion was divided, with 39.8 per cent rejecting it and 39.5 per cent stating that it continues to remain an issue.
On the issue of corruption, the Opposition�s campaign may have hit the bull�s eye, with a whopping 61 per cent expressing their deep concern, while 1.9 per cent conveying moderate concern and 37.1 per cent remaining unconcern, the poll survey found.
To another question whether Centre is guilty of neglecting Assam in general and the North-East in particular, 51 per cent said no, and 26.4 per cent agreed with the assumption, the report said.
Meanwhile, 85.6 per cent of those polled said they were deeply concerned over price rise and 1.4 per cent moderately concerned and 13 per cent unconcerned.
�In the five states which are going to polls we have good stakes in Assam. We have the ground force... we have everything there. So this time around, we will definitely defeat the Congress and emerge as a major winner,� the report quoted Prakash Javadekar as stating.
�The seats for BJP may go up by 20-25 and for the rest of parties like Congress and AGP it may come down by a small number and for AIUDF it is very close. One thing is certain that there would be a non-Congress government in Assam, this time,� BJP MP Rajen Gohain was quoted in the same report as having stated.