Assam assembly polls elections 2016
Assam assembly polls elections 2016Reuters

An opinion poll conducted jointly by ABP News and Neilsen has predicted the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) will win 78 seats in the upcoming Assam Assembly elections. The pre-poll survey's findings have been dismissed by the ruling Congress, reported The Telegraph.

The survey gave the BJP-Asom Gana Parishad (AGP)-Bodoland People's Front (BPF) combine 78 seats and the ruling Congress 36 in the 126-member Assam Assembly, besides predicting a drop in the ruling party's vote share to 34 percent from the 39.6 percent it got in 2011, when it won 78 seats.

The BJP-led alliance has been predicted by the survey to get a combined vote share of 44 percent, the daily reported. The saffron party's vote share was 12.1 percent in 2011.

The Congress dismissed the survey predictions, questioning their credibility.  

"The opinion poll is a survey of the BJP. Such surveys were conducted before and I have facts to prove that the reports are false. The opinion poll conducted by the agency gave 128 seats to the BJP in Bihar but they managed only 53 seats. In Delhi, the agency gave 34 seats to the party and it got only three seats. The BJP's fate will be the same in Assam," the state's three-term chief minister Tarun Gogoi was quoted by the Telegraph as saying.

The BJP was excited, on expected lines, with the findings of the survey. "We hope to secure more than 78 seats," Assam BJP spokesman Rupam Goswami said. 

The BJP's chief ministerial candidate is Sarbananda Sonowal, currently union sports minister in the Modi government.

The party's election campaign was kicked off by Prime Minister Narendra Modi with a March 26 rally in Tinsukia, where he made development his party's poll plank.

"I have three agendas. Development, fast development and all round development," he was quoted by PTI as saying at the rally.  

The same day, the party released its vision document for the state, in which it dwelt extensively on the issue of illegal immigrants in the state and accused Gogoi of "encouraging infiltration and destroying demography."

He is scheduled to address rallies in Majuli, Bihpuria, Bokakhat and Jorhat for the three-party combine. The BJP will contest 91 seats, while the AGP will contest from 24 constituencies.

"The Congress tried to destroy and change the demography of the state by encouraging infiltration. The Congress has been doing it for many decades and took no action," Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley was quoted as saying by agencies

Assam goes to polls in two phases on April 4 and 11. The counting of votes will take place May 19, along with that of West Bengal, Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Puducherry.