What is the Assam Legislative Assembly?

The Assam Legislative Assembly generally terms every five years, housed in the state’s capital Dispur, it is the sole legislature of Assam. All 126 members of the assembly are elected from single-seat constituencies.

The 2016 Assam Legislative Assembly

The 2016 assembly was held in two halves. Voter turn out broke records in the state, seeing an almost 10 percent increase from the 2011 assembly. It was the 2016 election that brought a huge change of power, the Indian National Congress under Tarun Gogoi after 15 years lost its majority to the Bharatiya Janata Party, led by Sarbananda Sonwal.

Leading up to the 2016 assembly was where the BJP began their anti-Bengali campaign. In November 2015, Amit Shah, president of the BJP, held a worker’s rally in Dibrugarh, Assam. Paired with Sonowal, who just became “Assam BJP chief” to head the election committee, the two BJP members expressed their “alarm” at the “situation” of illegal immigration from Bangladesh. This rhetoric which was already prevalent in Assam became firmly established across the state and throughout North-East India, leading to an amendment in the Citizenship Amendment Act in 2019.

Women in Assam observing social distancing.

The 2021 Assam Legislative Assembly

NRC:

August saw the final National Register of Citizens published, excluding almost 2 million people, rendering them stateless. The NRC will be revisited since despite 2 million people were excluded, the Assam government still found ineligible names on the register, as well as the names of “genuine Indian citizens” left off.

The Granting of Scheduled Tribe Status to Six Communities:

The “Scheduled Tribe” status for the six ethnic communities in Assam has been long discussed between central and state governments. The tribes: Chutia, Koch-Rajbongshi, Matak, Moran, Tai-Ahom and Tea Tribes now might find these discussions as fruitful, as their status’ are to be discussed in the lead up to the 2021 assembly and could potentially be given a final outcome by the end of this year.

Implementation of Clause 6 of the Assam Accord:

Clause 6 of the 1985 Assam Accord states “Constitutional, legislative and administrative safeguards, as may be appropriate, shall be provided to protect, preserve and promote the cultural, social, linguistic identity and heritage of the Assamese people”. Discussions will revolve around the “the appropriate level of reservation of seats in Assam Legislative Assembly and local bodies for the Assamese people”.

Coronavirus and the Assam Legislative Assembly

During the first autumn session of the Assembly that took place late August, members of the opposition party staged a walk out. This was in response to house speaker Hitendra Nath Goswami rejecting the motion to discuss the prevailing Covid situation in Assam, which statistically has proven detrimental within the state. Goswami insisted that whilst Covid-19 is an important discussion for the Assembly to have, it is not important enough to be discussed as an adjournment motion. Both Indian National Congress (INC) and All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF), have appealed for the pandemic to be a priority discussion during the Assembly sessions due to Assam and the North-East being heavily affected by it more so than the remaining states. It is of grave concern that the party in power rejects the facts surrounding the affects this global pandemic has had on Assam specifically and undermines the urgency to discuss this, let alone actively tackle it.

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