GUWAHATI: Congress president Sonia Gandhi will take the final call on the consensus candidate of Assam’s opposition parties for Rajya Sabha elections to one of the three seats.
Confirming this on Monday, a Congress insider said, “Madam (Sonia) will take the final decision on the consensus candidate of Congress and All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF) in a day or two.”
He said the two parties together had already shortlisted two candidates and one of them would be fielded. Earlier, they had taken a decision on fielding a consensus candidate with “non-political” background.
AIUDF chief and Lok Sabha member, Maulana Badruddin Ajmal, said, “We have already reached an understanding that we will put up a consensus candidate. During discussions, several criteria emerged. One of them was that the person has to be non-political. The other criteria were that he must have worked in Assam’s interests, has a good track record and was involved in the agitation against Citizenship (Amendment) Act.”
Two names that have been discussed the most are that of journalist Ajit Kumar Bhuyan and Jayanta Baruah, who is the owner of Sadin-Pratidin media group.
While Bhuyan said he was in touch with the two parties, Baruah said he had no intention to contest the elections. He said his name invariably gets cropped up during every Rajya Sabha election in Assam.
In the 126-member Assam House, BJP and allies together have 87 MLAs and they will win two seats. The third seat will go to the opposition parties only if they field a consensus candidate and there is no division of votes due to horse trading.
The BJP said it was not eying the third seat as it did not have the numbers. However, the Congress is wary of horse trading. This is for the first time that Congress and AIUDF have come together in an election.