Congress releases first list for Assam after ‘rumblings’ in unit
The Congress released on Saturday its first list of 40 candidates for the three-phase assembly election in Assam that starts on March 27, fielding state unit chief Ripun Bora from Gohpur constituency. The list comes a day the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party released its first list of 70 candidates.
Earlier in the day, reports of increasing differences between Congress leaders over seat-sharing with allies and ticket distribution gained momentum as the Congress’s women wing chief, Sushmita Dev, walked out of a party meeting on selection of candidates in Guwahati on Saturday.
The party and Dev, however, dismissed the reports. “I love the party and madam (Sonia Gandhi),” Dev said.
“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.
Reacting to the developments, BJP spokesperson Rupam Goswami said: “The Congress-led alliance is an unholy one which is forced and there’s bound to be differences. It’s a party full of leaders and less cadres hence it’s no surprise they are squabbling. It is definitely going to benefit us.”
Elections to the 126 assembly constituencies in Assam will be held in three phases.
The first phase of polling is on March 27 for 47 seats, second on April 1 for 39 seats, and third on April 6 for 40 seats. Counting of votes is scheduled to take place on May 2.
The Congress, which was in power in the state for 15 years (2001-2016) until the Bharatiya Janata Party-led alliance came to power in Assam in 2016, earlier allied with three Left parties -- Communist Party of India (Marxist), Communist Party of India and Communist Party of India (Marxist–Leninist) -- as well as the All India United Democratic Front and the Anchalik Gana Morcha, two regional parties having a political base among the Muslims and indigenous people, respectively.
On February 28, the Bodoland People’s Front (BPF), which was an ally of the BJP, quit the alliance to join the Congress-led ‘Grand Alliance’.
The ruling BJP and its allies — Asom Gana Parishad and United Peoples Party Liberal — released their first list of 70 candidates on Friday.