In BJP’s list of 70 candidates for Assam polls 11 sitting MLAs dropped
- Voting for the election to the Assam assembly will take place in three phases on March 27, April 1 and April 6. Names of the remaining BJP candidates will be announced later.
Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which is heading the coalition government in Assam, released a list of 70 candidates on Friday for the first two phases of the coming assembly polls in the state.
National general secretary of the party Arun Singh released the list in Delhi in presence of Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal, Assam unit president Ranjeet Kumar Dass and senior minister Himanta Biswa Sarma.
As per the seat-sharing formula decided after several meetings in Delhi over the past two days, BJP will contest 92 of the total 126 seats while alliance partner Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) will contest from 26 seats. Eight seats have been allotted to new ally United Peoples’ Party Liberal (UPPL).
Voting for the election to the Assam assembly will take place in three phases on March 27, April 1 and April 6. Names of the remaining BJP candidates will be announced later.
Sonowal would be contesting from his present constituency Majuli while Dass and Sarma would contest from the Patacharkuchi and Jalukbari seats (which will go to polls in the third phase) respectively. Dass had represented the Sarbhog seat in 2016.
“The decision to allot the Patacharkuchi seat to our state unit chief was taken as per wishes of local party workers. Hence respecting their demand, Dass will contest from a new seat,” Sarma said.
In the first list, 11 of BJP’s sitting MLAs have been replaced with new faces. There are speculations that upset with denial of tickets, several of these legislators could join other parties or contest as independent candidates.
Two former Congress ministers, Gautam Roy and Ajanta Neog, who had joined BJP few months ago, were given tickets from the Katigorah and Golaghat seats respectively.
Significantly, the alliance partners decided not to give a ticket to former chief minister and founder of AGP Prafulla Kumar Mahanta from the Barhampur seat, which he has been winning consecutively since 1991.
Mahanta who was undergoing treatment in Delhi returned to Guwahati on Friday. There are speculations that a miffed Mahanta might split the party and field candidates in around 15 seats or even join the Congress-led alliance.
Mahanta’s seat will be contested by the BJP this time. The saffron party will also have their candidates in four other seats, Lakhimpur, Patacharkuchi, Kamalpur and Naharkatiya, which AGP had won in 2016. Similarly, AGP gets Raha and Chabua seats won by BJP five years ago.
Addressing the press conference, AGP president Atul Bora announced the names of the 26 seats from which they would contest. He didn’t disclose names of the candidates from those seats. The list of seats allotted to UPPL and their candidates will be announced later in Guwahati.
In 2016, BJP had fielded candidates in 84 seats and won 60 of them while AGP had contested from 24 seats and won 14 of them. Bodoland Peoples’ Front (BPF), which was part of the BJP-led coalition but joined the Congress-led grand alliance this time, had won 12 of the 16 seats it had contested.
Newly formed Assam Jatiya Parishad also announced its first list of 18 candidates on Friday. Party president Lurinjyoti Gogoi will contest from Duliajan while general secretary Jagadish Bhuyan will contest from Sadiya-both seats are in upper Assam.
AJP was formed last year by All Assam Students Union (AASU) and Assam Jatiyatabadi Yuva Chatra Parishad (AJYCP), two prominent student bodies which had spearheaded the anti-Citizenship Amendment Act protests in the state in December 2019. The party has a pre-poll alliance with Raijor Dal, formed by the Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti (KMSS), a farmers' body, which had also led the anti-CAA protests.