The fear of cross-voting in the March 21 Rajya Sabha elections is likely to force the Congress to hold back its second list of candidates for Assam polls.
A Congress leader told HT that the sitting legislators, who are likely to be dropped in the second list, could make it tough for two Rajya Sabha nominees Ripun Bora and Ranee Narah in an otherwise easy contest.
The ruling party has 69 legislators in the 126-member House, with nine of its former members having been disqualified from the assembly after they joined the BJP last year.
Bora’s victory is a certainty as he will be the first preference for the party but Narah could face difficulties if the dropped legislators vote against her.
Businessman Mahavir Jain is the third candidate in the fray. He claims to enjoy the support of the BJP, Bodoland People’s Front and Asom Gana Parishad MLAs, besides dissident Congress and All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF) legislators. The AIUDF is yet to open its cards for the Rajya Sabha elections. However, chief minister Tarun Gogoi is confident of the victory of both the candidates, claiming that the party has the support of 80 legislators.
The Congress on Tuesday released the names of 65 candidates for the first phase of polls on April 4. The list has 15 fresh faces who replaced as many sitting legislators, including state Congress chief Anjan Dutta. State chiefs are generally given an option of not contesting to enable them to focus on election management and campaigning.
The last date of filing nominations for the remaining 61 seats in the second phase of polls on April 11 is March 22. A Congress functionary said the list could be announced immediately after the voting for the two Rajya Sabha seats is over on March 21.
In the second list too, some sitting legislators are unlikely to be re-nominated.