Differences among leaders over seats delays Congress list of nominees in Assam
- Despite several meetings over the past few days, Congress’s screening committee is yet to decide on the list of candidates as some leaders are unhappy with allocation of seats to alliance partners and also with denial of tickets to candidates suggested by them.
Differences among party leaders over seat sharing with allies and distribution of tickets for party hopefuls has delayed the release of the first list of candidates for the Congress in Assam.
The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and its allies-Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) and United People’s Party Liberal (UPPL)-released its seat sharing formula and first list of candidates on Friday, but the Congress-led seven party grand alliance is yet to arrive at a consensus.
Despite several meetings over the past few days, Congress’s screening committee is yet to decide on the list of candidates as some leaders are unhappy with allocation of seats to alliance partners and also with denial of tickets to candidates suggested by them.
Besides Congress, the All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF), Bodoland Peoples’ Front (BPF), three Left parties and a new regional outfit Anchalik Gana Morcha are all part of the grand alliance.
On Saturday, there were reports that former Lok Sabha MP from Silchar and president of All India Mahila Congress Sushmita Dev had resigned from the party as she was upset with seat allocation. Party leaders later clarified that the reports were untrue.
“Congress is a big and vibrant party and there is bound to be some expectations and differences. I have talked with Dev and the reports of her resigning are false. She might be having some issues, but she is a respected leader of the party and very much with us,” said Lok Sabha MP Pradyut Bordoloi.
According to party sources, Dev had asked for inclusion of some candidates in the list but as not all of them were in it, she was a bit upset. She is also said to be unhappy with some seats allocated to AIUDF in the Barak Valley region.
Senior leader and former minister Sarat Barkotoky told journalists that he is upset as the party hasn’t been fair to him or his son, both of whom have “sacrificed a lot” for Congress.
Party leaders and members of the screening committee are expected to have a video conference with the Congress high command on Saturday to sort out the differences soon.
According to unconfirmed reports, Congress will contest around 80 seats, AIUDF nearly 26 seats, BPF in 12, the Left parties in 4 and AGM in 2. There are 126 seats in the Assam assembly.
There is speculation that former chief minister and founder of Asom Gana Parishad Prafulla Kumar Mahanta who was denied a ticket by the party is expected to join the Congress-led alliance.
In 2016, Congress had won 26 seats, AIUDF 13 and BPF 12. The other parties in the alliance had not won any seats.
The last date for filing of nominations for the 47 seats in 11 districts, which will go to polls in the first phase on March 27, is March 9.