THIRUVANANTHAPURAM:Dr Debamoy Sanyal wants to be third time lucky. The 57-year-old BJP candidate—none other than Union Human Resource Development Minister Smriti Irani’s cousin—is pitted against nine Muslim candidates in the April 11's second phase poll from lower Assam’s Dhubri, which shares its border with Bangladesh.
Irani is the daughter of Sanyal’s father’s sister. The HRD minister’s granny from her mother’s side was born in their Dhubri residence.
Muslims constitute more than 70 per cent of the voters in Dhubri where the All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF) and the state’s ruling Congress are the two main players. AIUDF chief and Dhubri MP Maulana Badruddin Ajmal has been playing on the threat, albeit obliquely, that if the Muslims do not vote en bloc in favour of the minority-based party, the BJP will form its first ever government in Assam. Most constituencies in lower and central Assam, which will go to polls in the second phase, are AIUDF strongholds.
An estimated 82 per cent voter turnout, recorded in the first phase poll on April 4, has made the AIUDF as well as the Congress jittery. The BJP claims that people wanted respite from the misrule of Tarun Gogoi’s Congress government and voted for change. In the 2011 two-phase polls, the overall percentage of voter turnout was 75.
The odds are against Sanyal but he is optimistic. “Dhubri is the state’s one of the most backward districts. All it needs is all-round development. I am sure people will vote for me and the BJP can deliver it,” says Sanyal, a medical practitioner. He contested the 2006 Assembly polls barely two months after joining the BJP and managed to get 18,000 votes. In 2014 Lok Sabha elections, he got little over 30,000 votes.