Mission Dispur

GUWAHATI: Tarun Gogoi is confident of capturing Dispur for three times in a row as he has led the Congress to victory in almost all elections starting from panchayat to parliament since 2001. But 2011 is not an easy ride for the chief minister of Assam.

Though Gogoi still commands respect among common people, his failure to control corruption in various government departments has become his biggest drawback. But Congress still has an edge over others with the opposition parties are unable to form a united front to challenge the ruling party and the EC already announcing the election dates.

As electioneering proceeds, the situation, however, may change with three other major players AGP, BJP and the Maulana Badaruddin Ajmal-led AIUDF who may plot Gogoi's downfall.

The Congress still runs strong in its traditional bastion of Upper Assam with Gogoi leading from the front and also exploiting the ongoing peace process with Ulfa. However, Congress's success or failure also lies in its performance in this tea-oil rich belt where BJP, of late, has been plotting whatever it can to end Gogoi's rule. With former AGP MP and Aasu leader Sarbanada Sonowal joining the saffron party, BJP is hoping for a "change" in Upper Assam. And, if Gogoi fails to keep his bastion intact, Dispur may change hands.

Ulfa commander-in-chief Paresh Baruah can also play havoc for Congress if security forces failed to tame the hardliners who are opposed to the peace process initiated by the chief minister. Though Congress has managed to weaken Badaruddin Ajmal by creating a division in minority politics, it has to be seen how the Maulana retaliated. After his expulsion from the Arshad Madani faction of Jamiat, Ajmal split the Assam Jamiat and switched loyalty to the Mahmood Madani faction. A wounded Ajmal could pose more danger.

Congress ally BPF is sure to keep its base intact, but its support would depend on the former's final tally. Last but not the least is Prafulla Kumar Mahanta a man who has always plotted Congress's defeat.