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The Campaign in Karbi Anglong and NC Hills

Our performance in these elections in Karbi Anglong and the North Cachar Hills marked a further consolidation in our mass base. These elections were contested on a positive plank. We went to the people with our achievements in the past five years. Our pro-people schemes were accepted by the people. Many of our schemes like land-distribution, medical aid etc. had a widespread appeal among the people. Development schemes being targetted for all sections of society evoked good response from various sections of the population during the campaign. Our schemes regarding shifting cultivation struck a positive note among the poor peasants who supported us in the elections. Institution of scholarships and building women's hostel in Guwahati was well received by the youths and women.

The significant gain in our votes in these elections is due to the support we got from non-Karbis, ethnic and religious minorities in this region. We had set up an Ethnic Minority Welfare Board which highlighted the problems faced by the minorities in these regions. Efforts were made for the cultural upliftment of these communities. All these steps had established their confidence in the ASDC. Another new section that came out in our favour were the migrant labourers from Bihar.
Corruption was another campaign issue. During the campaign we stressed our approach at taking stern administrative measures along with a political movement against corruption. The example of some corrupt big officials being suspended was put forth in front of the voters. One of our important agenda was the resolve of ASDC to continue to take the struggle for autonomy to its logical culmination.

Our campaign strategy was mostly based on decentralised canvassing. Extensive door to door campaigns were conducted. Village and group meetings were held all over the district. Even street-level meetings and some meetings in local markets were also held.
Congress usually adopts an aggressive campaign style and many a time resorts to armed campaign. Citizen's Rights Protection Committee, an organisation once floated by Congress and an independent outfit now is being used by the Congress to terrorise the electorate. However, the distinct campaign styles, this time worked in our favour and its nefarious designs were exposed in front of the people.
In NC Hills, we bagged one Vidhan Sabha seat with 55% votes. Here the major issues was restoration of democracy. After protracted struggles with legal battles, NC Hills will finally have its Council elections in June. Since 1952, few dominant families have been wielding power in this district through the Council by receiving the patronage of Congress and in return returning a Congress candidate to the state legislature and the parliament.

Congress draws most of its support from the feudal elements in this constituency, remnants of feudalism being stronger here than in Karbi Anglong. Educated youths were influenced by our campaign and also participated in it. We were also able to draw a large section of the non-Dimasa tribals (about one third in the NC Hills) like Naga, Kukki, Khasi, Chakachak, Marh and others, towards us. Many intellectuals from some of these tribes gave their support during the campaign and overwhelmingly voted for us.

Coming close on the heels of the parliamentary and assembly elections are the council elections in Karbi Anglong and NC Hills. We are contesting for 23 posts and 26 posts in the NC Hills and Karbi Anglong councils respectively. On two of the seats, one each in the two councils we have already been elected unopposed.

Our campaign for the council elections will also center on a positive agenda in Karbi Anglong and the restoration of democracy will surface prominently in NC Hills. CRPC is expected to create an atmosphere of terror during the council elections, specially after Congress lost a sizable vote share in the parliamentary elections. We are gearing up to take up all such challenges.

-Jayant Rongpi

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