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GUWAHATI

Guwahati Parliamentary constituency was the jewel in BJP's crown in 1999 polls.

india Updated: Apr 17, 2004 17:57 IST

Guwahati parliamentary constituency was the jewel in BJP's crown in 1999 polls. It was one of two seats with which the saffron party had opened its account in the Brahmaputra Valley for the first time in India's electoral history. And the star of the show was Bijoya Chakraborty, who was later rewarded with a berth in the Union Cabinet.

But the repeat of the previous feat by the present Union Minister for Water Resources Bijoya seems extremely difficult this time, since Congress Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi is all out to win the seat.

The Union minister is also facing flak from her own party as a section of BJP leaders held her responsible for the party's debacle in just-concluded GMC election, of which she was overall in-charge. BJP managed to win only 13 seats in that election.

The constituency, traditionally a Congress bastion, was wrested by BJP when Bijoya drubbed high-profile Bhubaneshwar Kalita of Congress. Kalita is currently industry minister in the Tarun Gogoi Government. Bijoya's victory margin was a good 75,238 votes in an 11-cornered contest. In 1998, Kalita had drubbed Manoranjan Goswami of BJP by 12,8,173 votes.

In 1996, AGP's Prabin Chandra Sharma trounced Congress' Bhubaneswar Kalita by 11,4,397 votes whereas in 1991, the seat had gone to Kirip Chaliha of Congress, who won by 44,805 votes over his nearest Asraf Ali NAGP.

In the 1985 election the AGP won 60.9% of the vote, compared to the Congress' 17.7%. In the next election held from the state -- in 1991 -- the Congress won just 23.8% of the vote, but won the seat. It improved its tally to 30.71% in 1996, but the AGP, winning 44.30%, wrested back the seat.