Numbers by themselves are cold, lifeless. Set against others numbers, however, they spring to life. More so in electoral politics, the ultimate numbers game. Perhaps, it’s the ruthless nature of numbers that has prompted the BJP to reiterate its commitment to the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, a contentious piece of proposed legislation that had, not so long ago; it has set the cat among the pigeons in the restive region where eight states send 25 MPs to the Lok Sabha.
So much so the BJP candidate for Shillong, Sanbor Shullai, declared he will kill himself if the government goes ahead with the bill. “Till Sanbor is alive, CAB will not be implemented. I will kill myself…I will commit suicide before Narendra Modi,” Sanbor, 52, thundered.
Political analysts, however, see a well-crafted strategy behind the BJP’s persistence with the bill, even at the cost of losing previous votes in the region. And it boils down to the numbers. “The BJP is looking at the 40 seats in the Bengal where many Hindu Bengalis support the bill. The BJP, anyway, cannot win more than six-seven seats in Assam (out of 14) which is what they anyway have at present,” says a senior journalist based in Guwahati.