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HindustanTimes Thu,21 Aug 2014

Saffron surge in Assam ends Cong monopoly; Tarun Gogoi to quit as CM

Digambar Patowary, Hindustan Times  Guwahati, May 16, 2014
First Published: 15:27 IST(16/5/2014) | Last Updated: 18:44 IST(16/5/2014)

A saffron surge in Assam claimed its first victim on Friday with chief minister Tarun Gogoi announcing his decision to resign owning moral responsibility for the Congress "poor show".

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In a stunning show belying all predictions, the BJP on Friday looked set to end the monopoly of the Congress in the state, leading in as many as nine seats out of 14 in the state. The party had won four in 2009.

The ruling Congress was leading in only two seats, way short of the seven it had won in 2009.

Such was the BJP's dominance that even Gogoi's son Gaurav was lying in the third place in Koliabor seat, behind BJP's Mrinal Kumar Saikia and former AGP MP Arun Kumar Sarma.

As the Congress debacle became clear, chief minister Tarun Gogoi announced his resignation owning moral responsibility for the party's poor show.

"We accept the people's mandate. I take full responsibility for the defeat. I will submit my resignation to Sonia Gandhi," Gogoi said.

Gogoi , who had led the Congress to three terms in Assam, however, said the party will bounce back.

"This is temporary setback to us. We will bounce back. In the 2016 assembly elections in the state, we will win again," added Gogoi.

On the other hand, it was a spectacular show by the BJP which was not expected to do too well given the state's preference for the Congress or regional parties.

At the end of first two rounds of counting, the BJP was ahead in Barpeta, Dibrugarh, Jorhat, Koliabor, Lakhimpur, Mangaldoi, Tezpur, Nowgong and Silchar seats while the Congress is leading in Autonomous District (ST) and Gauhati, and AIUDF in Dhubri and Karimganj.

The Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) was nowhere in the picture.

Two Union ministers Paban Singh Ghatowar and Ranee Narah were trailing in Dibrugarh and Lakhimpur behind BJP candidates Rameshwar Teli and state unit president Sarbananda Sonowal, respectively.

In Barpeta, former AGP minister and party president Chandra Mohan Patowary, who joined BJP before the polls, is leading over Sirajuddin Ajmal (AIUDF).

In Jorhat, six-time sitting Congress MP and former Union minister Bijoy Krishna Handique is trailing behind BJP tea leader Kamakhya Prasad Tasa.

In the key Gauhati seat, social welfare minister Akon Bora's son Manash Borah is leading over AIUDF's Gopi Nath Das, with BJP's national vice-president and sitting MP Bijoya Chakravarty in the third place.

In the Kokrajhar constituency in trouble-torn BTAD, Urkhao Gwra Brahma (ind) is leading over transport minister and sitting MLA Chandan Brahma of Congress alliance partner Bodoland Peoples Front.


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