Kin gets AIDS patient's ticket
The candidate's aunt got the ticket as Congress leaders in Assam had threatened to quit, writes Rahul Karmakar.india Updated: Mar 17, 2006 03:31 IST
The stigma was too strong for the Congress to ignore. But it "compensated" by awarding the ticket to the kin of an AIDS patient it had hyped as the likely opponent of former Assam chief minister Prafulla Kumar Mahanta.
Earlier this month, the Congress had projected Jahnavi Goswami as its candidate for the key Barhampur assembly constituency, immediately after inducting her into the party. Goswami, an AIDS patient, is also the chief of the Assam AIDS Control Society.
But in a turnaround of sorts, the party named Chitralekha Phukan as its candidate for the Barhampur seat, which has been Mahanta's pet constituency. Phukan is the president of Barhmapur unit of the Congress; more importantly for the party, she is Goswami's paternal aunt.
Though the candidature has been "within the family", Goswami said she had no intention of contesting the election, though the Congress invited her to join the party.
"There were many who did not want me, a diseased person, to contest," she admitted. According to party insiders, some local leaders had even threatened to quit if Goswami was given the ticket, arguing that people would stay away from a party trying to make an electoral statement through an AIDS patient.
The AGP (Progressive), the breakaway party headed by Mahanta, on the other hand was apprehensive about Goswami garnering some sympathy votes.
Goswami had made headlines sometime ago when she asked people to test blood samples instead of matching horoscopes before marriage.