GUWAHATI: By-elections to four Assembly constituencies in BJP-ruled Assam on Monday will be an acid test for a depleting Congress to refurbish its image. For the BJP, the challenge will be to retain three of the four seats.
Sonari, Ratabari and Rangapara are currently held by the saffron party while Jania is with the Congress. The by-elections were necessitated as the sitting MLAs got elected to Lok Sabha.
There are 20 contestants in the fray and their fate will be known when the results will be announced on Thursday.
Both BJP and Congress are upbeat about their prospects. The BJP had tried to woo voters by campaigning on its popular slogan of “sabka saath, sab ka vikash” and the fight against corruption. The Congress, on the other hand, had sought to make the voters believe that there was not much of development of the state in the past three years under the BJP.
Till a few years ago, the Congress in Assam was invincible. In the absence of a formidable opposition, the party ruled the state for 15 years on the trot under former Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi. When the Congress appeared complacent, the BJP rose by leaps and bounds so much so it managed to upset the Congress applecart in 2016 Assembly elections.
By winning Assam, the BJP had opened the gateway to the Northeast as it went on to capture power in Manipur, Tripura and Arunachal Pradesh in due course.
Meanwhile, along with four constituencies in Assam, Shella seat in Meghalaya and Khonsa West seat in Arunachal will go to the polls.
The death of Shella MLA and former Chief Minister, Donkupar Roy, necessitated the by-polls. Similarly, by-elections to the Khonsa West seat will be held as the sitting MLA, Tirong Aboh, was shot dead along with his son and nine others by the militants in an ambush.