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Assam polls: Prospect of sitting MLAs in 4 Kamrup constituencies bleak

April 08, 2011 16:42 IST
The prospect of sitting members of Legislative Assembly, barring Assam health minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, appears to be bleak in the four prestigious assembly constituencies of Dispur, Gauhati East and West, and Jalukbari under Kamrup (metro) district going to the polls in the second phase.

In the prestigious Dispur constituency, social welfare minister Akon Bora is facing tough opposition from former Assam Gana Parishad minister Atul Bora who is fighting all out to wrest the seat from the Congress after a hiatus of two terms. The seat was a traditional AGP stronghold in the 80s and 90s with Bora representing the constituency for three terms since 1985, but in 2001 Captain Robin Bordoloi of the Congress wrested the seat and was rewarded with a ministership.

Bora was all set to regain the seat in 2006, but the split in the AGP with former chief minister Prafulla Kumar Mahanta forming the AGP (Progressive) and deciding to contest from Dispur spoiled his chances by splitting the votes helping Akon Bora managing to scrape through.

The Congress, faced with an anti-incumbency factor, is, however, facing stiff competition from AGP's Bora with Bharatiya Janata Party's Ranjit Ranghang and All India United Democratic Front's Anowar Ali also likely to take away a chunk of votes.

The minister putting up a brave front claimed that the development initiated by the Congress government during the last 10 years will help him retain the seat for the party. "I am confident of retaining the seat and AGP does not stand a chance as Atul Bora, who was the powerful public works department minister during the party's rule hardly did anything for the development of the constituency,'' he said.

The AGP leader, on the other hand, asserted that he would represent the constituency for the fourth time as the people have ''realised their mistake of electing Congress candidates for two terms and are keen to get me back'.'

In the neighbouring Gauhati (East) constituency, a triangular contest is on the cards with sitting MLA Captain Robin Bordoloi, son of Assam's first chief minister Gopinath Bordoloi, facing stiff opposition from BJP's Siddharta Bhattacharya and AGP's Queen Ojha. This primarily urban constituency comprising a predominantly Assamese electorate was earlier an AGP stronghold where the BJP has made considerable inroads, and the result was likely to swing in any direction.

Captain Robin Bordoloi, who lost the Lok Sabha elections in 2009, had managed to win the assembly seat in 2006 only due to the division in the AGP vote with the party nominating former Union minister Birendra Prasad Baishya instead of former MLA Biraj Sarma who went on to contest as an independent.

In the other Gauhati (West), which also has a predominantly urban population comprising a strong business community, the sitting AGP MLA Ramendra Narayan Kalita's position has also been considerably weakened with Congress, BJP and an independent candidate posing tough challenge to him.

The Congress has nominated former MLA Hemanta Talukdar who appears to have an edge over his opponents Manoj Ram Phookan of the BJP and Ashok Anand Singhal, a former BJP member, who on being denied ticket decided to contest as an independent and was expected to take away a considerable chunk of the Hindi-speaking business community.

The Congress was comfortably placed in the Jalukbari constituency with health minister Himanta Biswa Sarma all set to retain the seat for the third successive term though he is locked in a triangular contest with BJP's Pradyut Kumar Bora and AGP's Manoj Saikia putting up a brave front.

The 42-year old flamboyant minister, representing the party's youth brigade in the cabinet, has initiated large-scale development work in his constituency and was successful in winning the loyalty of a large section of the electorate.

''Sarma has been successful in setting up several educational institutions, industries and providing health facilities, besides ensuring implementation of the various schemes initiated by the government during the last 10 years and this will definitely help him win by a large margin,'' said 72-year-old senior citizen Debeshwar Baishya of Sulakuchi which falls under Jalukbari.

BJP's Pradyut Bora, an Indian Institute of Management almuni, has also put up an interesting campaign projecting himself as a bhal manuh (a good man) who has entered politics to rebuild people's faith in the system and urged the people to ensure that 'good people' entered politics.

Congress President Bhubaneswar Kalita exuding confidence said the party will sweep all four seats and the development works initiated by the party will go a long way in ensuring their win in these constituencies also.

The ruling party's candidates were mainly campaigning on the development brought by the party while the opposition AGP and BJP were trying to woo the voters on the promise of solving their local problems like water-logging, drinking water supply, proper roads and land deeds for those living on the hills surrounding these constituencies.

Also see: Complete Coverage: Assembly Elections 2011

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