BJP declares candidates for 1st phase of Assam elections

  • Digambar Patowary, Hindustan Times, Guwahati
  • Updated: Mar 10, 2016 10:48 IST
BJP leaders at an election campaign committee meeting in New Delhi, to discuss the upcoming assembly poll in Assam and West Bengal. (PTI Photo)

The BJP has declared its first list of candidates for the Assam Assembly election on Wednesday.

Assam BJP president and Union minister Sarbnanda Sonowal, the party’s chief ministerial candidate, would contest from Majuli (reserved for ST) constituency in Jorhat district.

The BJP’s list of candidates for Assam was finalised in the party’s parliamentary board meeting held at its headquarters. JP Nadda announced the name of candidates running for constituencies in the Assam assembly elections.

“Today, we have day long discussion for the final list of candidates. The party has selected me to contest from Majuli constituency. I am happy to contest from the constituency,” said Sarbananda Sonowal, BJP’s chief ministerial candidate.

BJP, which faced dissent from grassroot workers for leaving 24 seats to its electoral alliance partner Asom Gana Parisad (AGP), was careful in selecting candidates for important constituencies in a bid to avoid another revolt.

Majuli assembly constituency falls under Lakhimpur Lok Sabha constituency. In the last Lok Sabha elections, Sonowal got the highest number of votes from the Majuli constituency.

Sonowal has been focusing on the river (Brahmaputra) island’s development since he was appointed a Union minister.

Majuli is India’s largest river island, mostly inhabited by the tribal Mishing community. The cultural hub of Assam, Majuli is the epicentre of Assam’s Vaishnavite movement.

“We had many challenges in finalising the list of candidates but it includes candidates from all communities... There are also 20 candidates whose ages are below 40 years,” said Himanta Biswa Sarma, convenor of BJP’s Assam election management committee.

The party has decided to field its Jorhat MP, Kamakhya Prasad Tasa, against Congress stalwart and chief minister Tarun Gogoi in Titabar constituency.

The Titabar assembly segment falls under the Jorhat parliamentary constituency. BJP’s decision to field its Jorhat MP against chief minister Tarun Gogoi could be a move to keep the Gogoi busy in his home constituency.

Most MLAs from other political parties (Congress and AGP) who had joined BJP in recent past were given party tickets to contest from their respective constituencies. Out of 126 constituencies, BJP would contest in 84 constituencies and leave 42 others to its four allies -- AGP (24), BPF (Bodoland People’s Front-16) , Rabha Jatiya Aikya Manch (1) and Tiwa Jatiya Aikya Manch (1).

In six constituencies, it would go for ‘friendly contest’ with its allies AGP and BPF. The party would announce candidates for Nalbari and Kalaigaon constituency in the next three days.

BJP has high hopes for its electoral performance among the five poll-bound states.

Elections will be held in two phases; the first phase will include 65 constituencies and will begin on April 4. The second phase will include 61 constituencies and the will begin on April 11.

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