As one enters Jorhat, the gateway to Upper Assam 312 km east of state capital Guwahati, poll banners of all hues greet visitors.
Apart from the Bharatiya Janata Party’s lotus and Congress’ hand symbols, the two big parties battling it out in the poll bound state, election banners of a new outfit, the Liberal Democratic Party, are also vying for eyeballs and attention.
LDP, which is barely a year old, is contesting the assembly elections and its president Pradyut Bora is battling from his home town in an attempt to make his maiden entry to the state assembly. He is contesting from the prestigious East Guwahati seat.
The 41-year-old is no stranger to politics. Bora, a national executive member of BJP, had quit the party last year over differences with the saffron party leadership and ideology.
The former head of BJP’s national IT cell and general secretary of the Assam unit left the party when Modi’s magic was beginning to find acceptance among Assamese people.
“Judging by the people’s response it seems we will have a good beginning with this election. We are not thinking beyond that,” the St Stephen’s College and IIT-Ahmedabad alumnus told Hindustan Times.
Bora made a first failed attempt in 2011 contesting against Congress’s senior minister Himanta Biswa Sharma. Sharma has since quit Congress and is one of the prominent faces of the BJP’s Assam campaign.
The party, which espouses social and economic liberalism, has failed to make any mark in Assam politics dominated by Congress, BJP and smaller but influential players like Asom Gana Parishad, All India United Democratic Front and Bodoland People’s Front.
“In Jorhat, the fight is between Congress’s Rana Goswami and BJP’s Hitendra Nath Goswami. Bora has a clean reputation and could make a difference,” Dipak Das, a businessman at the city’s main thoroughfare AT Road, said.
Not surprisingly, Bora’s former party colleagues are dismissive of his chances. But Congress workers feel LDP could spring a surprise in Jorhat.
“We are not thinking much of opinions of our rivals and are focusing on reaching out to as many people as possible and spreading our message,” Bora said.
This time it will be contesting from 14 assembly constituencies. The party has also given tickets to two women candidates.
The coming weeks would reveal if the young politician, who has been responsible for kick starting BJP online presence significantly and also launched a successful info-tech venture, will be able to do the same with his political start-up.