NEW DELHI: Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Baijayant Jay Panda on Friday said that both Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal and state minister Himanta Biswa Sarma are popular leaders and both will contest the Assembly polls.
Assam BJP in-charge and party's vice president Baijayant Jay Panda in an interview with ANI said that the list of the candidates for the three-phased state Assembly polls will be out soon.
"Our top leaders will contest the polls. Both Sonowal and Sarma are very popular and have a good image among the public. They will definitely contest the polls. There is no problem in the state under the leadership of CM Sonowal and Minister Sarma," he said.
Assam minister Himanta Biswa Sarma had in August 25 last year, asserted that he is not interested in contesting Assembly polls in 2021. There were media reports claiming internal differences between Sarma and Sonowal over the Chief Minister's face for Assam Assembly polls.
Commenting upon the seat-sharing of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA), Panda said, "The list will be out soon. Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) is our long-standing partner. There is a new party called UPPL (United People's Party Liberal), which has done very well in the Bodoland area and we are in discussions with them."
Assam BJP in-charge also shared the party's prospects for 126-members Assembly polls. He said the party is going with the slogan -- BJP plus 100 plus -- which means the BJP along with allies will get more than 100 seats.
"The slogan in Assam has been catching a lot on the ground. The people of Assam have given us a good mandate in the last election. The recent opinion polls are giving us sweeping victory. This is corroborated by my own experience. I have traveled around the state in the last few months and observed that the popularity of PM Modi and the works of BJP government at centre and state are going in our favour," he said.
"We are focusing on law and order, development and the culture of Assam. These all are going in our favour. People are happy with central and state government. Both Home Minister and Prime Minister will be visiting Assam multiple times for campaigning. It is a very important and largest state in North East. In the last six years or so, PM Modi has visited the North East almost 45 times. It is a huge number compared to earlier Prime Ministers," he added.
During the election campaign, PM Modi will hold six rallies in Assam followed by double-digit election rallies by Home Minister Amit Shah and BJP chief JP Nadda, sources said.
The BJP leader slammed the Congress party for stitching a pre-poll alliance with Badruddin Ajmal's party All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF) to contest Assam Assembly polls.
"Alliance between Congress and AIUDF is blatantly communal. Late Tarun Gogoiji took great pains to avoid AIUDF like plague. In Bengal too, Congress has tied up with an Islamist communal party. Congress leaders are now speaking out against this kind of blatant hypocrisy," he said.
Panda also added that there is "no threat from the Congress-led alliance".
Commenting upon the recent visit of Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, he said, "Congress leaders come to Assam only during the election."
Assam Assembly elections will be held in three phases beginning from March 27 with the final round of voting taking place on April 6. The counting of votes in the state will take place on May 2.