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BJP denies tickets to 11 sitting MLAs in Assam

The party on Friday announced the names of 70 candidates for the first and second phases of Assam elections.

Published: 05th March 2021 10:53 PM  |   Last Updated: 05th March 2021 10:53 PM   |  A+A-

BJP flags (Photo| PTI)

BJP flags (Photo| PTI)

Express News Service

GUWAHATI: Eleven sitting MLAs, including a minister, were denied tickets in Assam by the BJP which fielded two Congress defectors who served as Cabinet ministers in the Tarun Gogoi government.

The party on Friday announced the names of 70 candidates for the first and second phases of Assam elections.

The sitting MLAs to miss the bus are Hills Area Development Minister Sum Ronghang, Rituparna Barua (Lahowal seat), Amar Chand Jain (Katigorah), Ashok Sarma (Nalbari), Joyram Engleng (Howraghat), Mansing Rongpi (Baithalangsu), BB Hagzer (Haflong), Dilip Paul (Silchar), Kishore Nath (Borkhola), Debananda Hazarika (Bihpuria) and Nabanita Handique (Sonari).

In Ronghang’s place, BJP fielded Bidya Sing Engleng. He is a former MLA and former chief of Karbi Anglong Autonomous Council (KAAC). He had lost the last election, which he contested as a Congress candidate, to Ronghang.

In the Lahowal seat in Dibrugarh district, BJP fielded Binod Hazarika, the sitting Chabua MLA. His house was torched by the protestors of Citizenship (Amendment) Act during the height of the agitation in December 2019.

The BJP fielded Jayanta Malla Barua, a former Congress MLA, in the Nalbari seat. He is a confidante of BJP leader and Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma and the chairman of Assam Tourism Development Corporation. In 2016, he was new in the BJP and the party had fielded Ashok Sarma from Nalbari. He has a background in the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS).

In Joyram Engleng’s Howraghat seat, BJP fielded Dorsingh Ronghang. He has a background in the Left. He joined BJP a few years ago.

In the Baithalangsu seat, represented by Mansing Rongpi, the BJP fielded Roop Sing Teran. He is the chairman of KAAC.

BB Hagzer represented Haflong. The BJP fielded Nandita Garlosa in the seat. Nandita is the sister of Dima Hasao Autonomous Council chief Debolal Garlosa.

Dilip Paul is a former Assembly Deputy Speaker who represented Silchar. The BJP fielded Dwipayan Chakraborty, who is a businessman, in the seat. Similarly, Amalendu Das, who has a background in the RSS, has been fielded in place of Kishore Nath in the Borkhola seat.

In Bihpuria and Sonari seats, the party fielded Amiyo Bhuyan and Dharmeswar Konwar replacing Debananda Hazarika and Nabanita Handique respectively. Handique had got elected to the Assembly in 2019 by winning a by-election.

The two former Congress Ministers who made the cut are Ajanta Neog and Gautam Roy. Neog will contest from her constituency Golaghat and Roy, who earned the “King of Barak Valley” moniker from Katigorah in place of Jain. Neog has been representing the Golaghat seat since 2001.

BJP sources said the party assessed the performances of the sitting MLAs prior to deciding on the candidates. It had earlier asserted that the non-performing Ministers and MLAs would not be fielded.

Assam BJP chief Ranjit Kumar Dass, a sitting MLA, will contest from Patacharkuchi instead of his Sorbhog constituency. There is a perceived wave against him in Sorbhog.

BJP leader and Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma told journalists in Delhi, “We have decided that Ranjit Kumar Dass will contest from Patacharkuchi as wished by our party workers.”

The BJP will contest the polls in alliance with the Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) and the United People's Party Liberal (UPPL) which is headed by the chief of autonomous Bodoland Territorial Council.

Sarma said the AGP would contest from 26 seats. In 2016, it had contested from 28 seats, including four where it had friendly contest with BJP.

Incidentally, Sarma, fielded from the Jalukbari seat, had earlier announced that he would not contest the polls. On Friday, he said he is contesting as was decided by the party.

A confident Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal, who will contest from Majuli, said: “There is peace and progress in Assam. We could ensure peace. BJP will retain power.”

Meanwhile, mixed scenes were observed after the names of the candidates were announced. The supporters of MLAs who were snubbed erupted in protests. For the supporters of others, who will be contesting, there was early celebration of Rongali Bihu.
 



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