Cong, BJP change candidates
Assam's major political parties Congress, BJP and AGP have changed 21 candidates in all for the forthcoming Lok Sabha polls to elect its 14 representatives in two phases.
Congress, which swept the last parliamentary polls winning 10 seats, has replaced five candidates this time, including two sitting MPs. BJP and Asom Gana Parishad have eight fresh faces each.
Congress has replaced sitting Karimganj MP Nepal Chandra Das with Lalit Shukla Baidya. Das had left the party to join AGP and was nominated as the opposition candidate.
Sitting Congress MP Abdul Hamid of Dhubri has been denied ticket to be replaced by Anowar Hussain.
Congress has also denied tickets to three losers of the last elections - State Industry Minister Bhubaneswar Kalita (Gauhati), Nripen Saikia (Nagaon) and Premsingh Brahma (Kokrajhar). They have been replaced by Kirip Chaliha, Bishnu Prasad and Derghara Mochahary.
The only Congress candidate who lost the last elections but has been renominated is Biren Singh Engti from Autonomous Hills (ST) Districts constituency. His candidature was initially rejected and a woman candidate, Kuntila Ronghangpi, was given the seat but Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi prevailed on the party high command to rule in Engti's favour.
In Kaliabor constituency, Gogoi had won the last polls but vacated the seat in favour of his brother Deep Gogoi who won the bypolls by a huge margin and has been renominated for the seat.
The sitting Congress MPs to be renominated are Santosh Mohan Dev from Silchar, A F Golam Osmani from Barpeta, Madhab Rajbongshi from Mangaldoi, Mani Kumar Subba from Tezpur, Bijoy Krishna Handique from Jorhat, Paban Singh Ghatowar from Dibrugarh and Ranee Narah from Lakhimpur.
BJP, which made considerable inroads in last polls winning two seats and finishing second in seven constituencies, has also put some new prominent faces including Dr Bhupen Hazarika (Guwahati).
Union Minister of State for Water Resources Bijoya Chakravorty and sitting MP from Gauhati was denied ticket by BJP and was replaced by Assamese cultural icon Hazarika whose joining the party recently created furore in the state.
The other sitting MP from Nagaon and former state unit president Rajen Gohain has been renominated by the party for the same seat. In Dhubri the party has replaced the earlier candidate Bimal Oswal by its sole woman candidate Jabeen Borbhuyan.
Another former state unit president Narayan Chandra Borkotoky has been nominated from Mangaldoi replacing Nunidra Singh Lahkar.
Another prominent nomination by the party is that of Assam's media and construction baron G L Agarwala in Tezpur replacing Ram Prasad Sarmah.
Former party vice-president Janaki Nath Handique has been denied the Jorhat seat which has gone to Dayanand Borgohain. Tea tribe leader Kamakhya Prasad Tasa has been nominated from Dibrugarh replacing Ajit Chaliha and Ranjeet Thakuria has been given the Barpeta seat in place of Ramani Kanta Deka.
The prominent candidates who lost the last elections but have been renominated are Parimal Shukla Baidya from Karimganj, Kabindra Purkayastha from Silchar and Udai Shankar Hazarika from Lakhimpur.
The AGP, which failed to win a single seat in the last polls, have also brought in new faces with prominent among them being former Home Minister Bhrigu Kumar Phukan (Guwahati), who recently rejoined the party after leaving it twice following differences with former Chief Minister Prafulla Kumar Mahanta.
Kumar Dipak Das from Barpeta, Apurba Kumar Bhattacharjee from Mangaldoi, Padma Hazarika from Tezpur, Dulal Baruah from Jorhat, Nepal Chandra Das from Karimganj, Dhruba Saikia from Nagaon and former Rajya Sabha Dr Arun Sarma from Lakhimpur are the new candidates put up by the party.