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Congress faces tough battle in lower Assam

April 09, 2011 20:18 IST

In the heart of lower Assam -- Nalbari, Baksa and Barpeta districts -- the battle of ballot is basically confined to the regional Asom Gana Parishad and the ruling Congress majority of the total 14 constituencies, while the All India United Democratic Front and the Bodo People's Front are emerging front runners in rest of the constituencies.

In Nalbari legislative assembly constituency, Dr Alaka Sarma of the AGP hopes to retain her seat comfortably taking advantage of divisions and dissension in the rival Congress camp that is posing challenge to her Congress rival Jayanta Malla Barua.

Complete Coverage: Assembly Elections 2011

Dr Sarma who represented the constituency on two occasions so far after the tragic death of her husband and senior AGP leader Nagen Sarma in a bomb blast triggered by the United Liberation Front of Asom militants in 2000, has been campaigning in the constituency in her subtle style of holding average 60 street corner meeting with voters.

Her key strength is about 1,500 women self-help groups she had formed in the area over the years to facilitate economic empowerment of women folk in rural Assam.

Sitting Congress MLA and senior minister Dr Bhumidhar Barma is facing stiff challenge from his AGP rival veteran Pulakesh Barua in Borkhetri constituency in Nalbari district while the AGP president Chandra Mohan Patowary is facing challenge from Congress candidate Nilamoni Sen Deka at Dharmapur LAC.

Of the three LACs at Baksa district, the AGP veteran Rekha Rani Das Boro is gaining ground against the BPF candidate Maneswar Brahma, while it will be a close contest among the Emanuel Musahary (BPF), Padam Bahadur Chouhan (AGP) and Chandi Basumatary (Congress) in Tamulpur LAC.

AGP candidate Tijen Basumatary is posing challenge to BPF candidate Hitesh Basumatary in Sapaguri LAC.

The ruling Congress faces tough fight in all the eight constituencies in Barpeta district either from the AGP or the AIUDF rivals, while Communist Party of India-Marxist candidate Manoranjan Talukdar is enjoying advantage at Sarbhog LAC.

It will be basically a contest among Dr Manoranjan Das (AGP), Abul Kalam Azad (AIUDF) and Dr Manjushree Pathak (BJP) in Bhabanipur LAC while Congress candidate Dr Moloya Barma is being well challenge by AGP's Pabindra Deka at Patacharkuchi LAC.

In Barpeta LAC, AGP's Gunin Das is slowly gaining ground in view of chances of division of minority votes between Congress candidate Abdul Kayem and AIUDF candidate Abdul Rahim Khan.

Sitting Congress MLA Abdul Khalek is on a sticky wicket at minority bastion in Jania LAC basically due to upsurge of AIUDF candidate Rafiqul Islam. It will be a close fight between Rajib Ahmed (Congress), Sherman Ali (AIUDF) and Jalaluddin Ali (AGP) at Baghbor constituency.

There are 13 candidates in the fray at Sarukhetri constituency much to the advantage of Dr Tara Prasad Das of Congress as anti-Congress votes will be sharply divided there while in Chenga LAC Sukur Ali (Congress), I U Dewan (AIUDF) and Liyakat Ali Khan (AGP) are emerging as front runners.

While lack of an alliance between the AGP and the BJP would lead division of the anti-Congress votes in Barpeta district, the Congress is worried over the AIUDF making inroads into its minority stronghold.

K Anurag in Guwahati