By Kumar Gaurav
Guwahati (Assam) [India], March 20 (ANI): Around thirty per cent of the voters in the Upper Assam region are engaged in different kind of works in tea gardens. There are around eight lakh tea pluckers in upper Assam who remained loyal to the Congress party till 2014.
They had shifted their support to the BJP and now Rahul Gandhi is camping in upper Assam to get this vote bank back to Congress' fold. Rahul had lunch with tea garden workers on Friday.
The biggest issue for the tea pluckers is their daily wages and Rahul has promised Rs 365 per day as wages to them.
Mausmi, a tea garden worker, told ANI, "We only get Rs 167 per day and it is hard for us to manage our homes and other expenses with this money. BJP and Congress fool us with promises to increase wages during each election."
Another worker, Anima Tanti, said, "We get 1,730 rupees in 12 days. During the last term of Congress, they increased our wages by 10 rupees. Before the previous election, BJP promised us that they will give us Rs 351 as daily wages but we are still getting Rs 167 in our hand."
Manju, another worker, said, "Every party makes promises but our condition is worsening day by day with prices rising for dailies ."
Asked about Rahul Gandhi's promise of hike in wages, Vikram Kayaa, a tea plantation worker, said, "If he gives this amount, it would be good for us. We will decide on whom to vote for. We have still not decided because everybody makes promises but never keeps it."
Though ahead of the upcoming polls, the BJP-led government made an interim hike of Rs 50 in their daily wages, i.e, from Rs 167 to Rs 217, the Gauhati High Court stayed the hike after the planters opposed it. The daily wage is provided by the garden owners but the wage is fixed by the government.
In the 2016 assembly election, the BJP-AGP combine won 74 of 126 seats in the state and both parties bagged 35 seats of the 47 assembly constituencies in the upper Assam area. Out of the 47 seats, BJP won 27, AGP bagged 8 while opposition Congress won 9 seats.
In the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, the BJP-AGP alliance had again shown its dominance in Upper Assam and northern Assam region.
The 47 constituencies of upper Assam are in the fray during the first phase of the assembly election in Assam which is crucial for the BJP led NDA to retain power in the state.
The first phase poll for 47 assembly constituencies will be held on March 27. (ANI)