Assam polls: Congress fields new faces to regain lost turf

The grand old party late on Saturday night released the first list of 40 candidates for the 47 constituencies that are going to polls in the first phase on March 27.

Published: 07th March 2021 03:47 PM  |   Last Updated: 07th March 2021 05:49 PM   |  A+A-

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Express News Service

GUWAHATI: The Congress is betting on young leaders to regain the lost ground in Assam.

Sixteen of its 40 candidates, whose names were announced on Saturday night for the first of three-phase Assembly elections, are fresh faces. The 40 seats have six sitting MLAs from the party and none was denied a ticket.

Altogether 47 constituencies in Upper, Northern and Upper-Central Assam will go to polls in first phase. Upper and Northern Assam are Assamese majority regions that also have a large number of tea garden voters while Upper-Central Assam has a sizeable Muslim population.

The Congress said it was giving equal importance to experience and exuberance.

“Congress has always encouraged the younger generation, be it in organisation or electoral politics. India, being the largest democracy in the world, must be attractive to the younger generation and Congress fulfills and welcomes the aspirations of the youth,” party leader Bobeeta Sarma said.

She continued: “At the same time, we need the guidance, support and blessings of the older and experienced leaders in the party and their contribution will always be revered.”

The Upper, Northern and Upper-Central Assam regions used to be the Congress’s strongholds. The votes started shifting to the BJP since the 2014 Parliamentary elections when the country was swept away by the “Modi wave”. It continued till the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.

The 40 Assembly seats in question lie in the five Parliamentary segments of Jorhat, Dibrugarh (Upper Assam), Lakhimpur, Tezpur (Northern Assam) and Kaliabor (Upper-Central Assam). The BJP and its ally Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) had fared better than the Congress in 35 seats in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls. Only the Kaliabor Lok Sabha seat is currently held by the Congress. The others are with the BJP.

The BJP had fared better than the Congress in eight of the 10 Assembly seats in Jorhat. Congress had a better performance in Titabor, which was represented by former Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi, and Sivasagar. The BJP’s vote share was 51.9% as against the Congress’s 44.1%.

The BJP had also performed better than the Congress in all nine Assembly segments in Dibrugarh. The BJP’s vote share of 66.3% was way above the Congress’s 29.7%.

Similarly in the Tezpur seat, the BJP had fared better than the Congress in all nine seats. The BJP’s vote share was 58.2% compared to Congress’s 37.6%.

In the Lakhimpur seat, the BJP had performed better than the Congress in eight of the nine seats. The BJP’s vote share was 61.2% as against the Congress’s 33.6%.

Congress leader Gaurav Gogoi had won the Kaliabor seat defeating the AGP’s Mani Madhav Mahanta, who was the consensus candidate of the BJP-led ruling coalition. Even in defeat, the AGP had fared better than the Congress in five of the 10 Assembly segments. The Congress’s vote share was 55.8% and the AGP’s 40.9%.GUWAHATI:


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