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BJP woos largest vaishnavite cult in Assam

Guwahati: Facing an uphill task of dethroning a 15-year-old Congress led by Tarun Gogoi from the seat of power in Assam after the Assembly election scheduled for this year, the BJP is on an overdrive to woo indigenous communities in the state for it.
As part of its strategy, the BJP is aiming at striking deep roots among 50 lakhs disciples of vaishnavite saint Srimanta Sankar Deva, who set off a massive religious and cultural movement in Brahmaputra valley in Assam and parts of North Bengal in 15th Century. This band of vaishnav cult disciples are now organised under the banner of Srimanta Sankar Sangha in Assam and wield tremendous influence in the social and religious spheres in Assam.
A senior BJP leader informed that Prime Minister Narendra Modi would grace the 85th convention of Srimanta Sankar Sangha at Sivasagar in eastern Assam on February 5 when his will visit the state. The BJP look forward for the Modi’s visit to strike a chord with the influential Sangha which can be a deciding factor in polls especially in eastern stretch of Brahmaputra valley.
Politically disciples of the Sangha are so far not collectively aligned to any political party though both the Congress and the regional Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) used to get their support in past Assembly elections.
A senior BJP leader informed that their (Sankar Sangha) support will be a boon for the BJP this election given that AGP’s fortunes are on the wane and virtually holds not attraction and appeal to the masses while ruling Congress’ failure to protect vaishnavite institutions from encroachment by suspected illegal Muslim migrants from Bangladesh in many parts of the state especially in Central and western Assam has made it lost much of the ground among the members of Sangha.
The Sangha is very sensitive towards protection of institutions closely associated with vaishnavite cult like Satras (monasteries) that dot the landscape in Assam valley.
These satras were set up by vaishvaite saints Srimanta Sankar Deva and his principal disciple Madhab Deva, but many of these revered institutions are now facing threat from land grabbers from among illegal migrants from Bangladesh under the patronage of certain political parties.
The BJP recently engaged one of its frontal organization in Assam to do a detail research of satras that are under threat from encroachers and it has helped the party made some inroads into the community.
Time has now come for the party to exploit the warm relation with the influential community with sound educational, social standing, for its benefits in the polls that is forthcoming in the state.

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