Guwahati, Apr 9 : The Jorhat Parliamentary constituency in eastern Assam has turned into a battle ground for ‘young turks’, with ruling BJP replacing its sitting MP to retain the seat for the second term and the Congress too introducing a new face to re-claim a traditional party bastion.
The BJP, which had wrestled out Jorhat after six successive Congress victories in 2014 election through its candidate Kamakhya Prasad Tassa, has fielded Minister of State for Power, Topon Kumar Gogoi this year.
Gogoi, a former top leader of influential All Assam Students Union (AASU), had joined BJP ahead of 2016 state Assembly election and went on to win Sonari LAC and was inducted in the state ministry.
With BJP’s internal survey not indicating positive chances for Tassa and Gogoi’s past performance as a students’ leader working in the latter’s favour, he was nominated as the candidate for BJP-led alliance in the state, which also comprises of Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) and Bodoland People’s Front (BPF).
The AGP also has a considerable following in the constituency and if vote transfer becomes possible, Gogoi has a favourable chance at retaining the seat for BJP. The sail will not be without turbulence for Gogoi with Congress opting for a new candidate for the seat, former-MLA Sushanta Borgohain. The Congress has lost the constituency only two times since 1951, including in 2014, and earlier in 1984 to the AGP candidate.
Former three-time CM Tarun Gogoi had represented the constituency twice in 1971 and 1977, and late BK Handique had gone on to keep it in the party kitty from 1991 to 2009, losing for the first time to BJP in 2014. Though a constituency with a sizeable tea tribe population, the outgoing MP Tassa has been the only Lok Sabha member of the community from the seat and both the ruling BJP and Opposition Congress have once again opted for candidates from Ahom community this time.
Moreover, both Gogoi and Borgohain are from the administrative district of Sivsagar, which falls under Jorhat Lok Sabha constituency, with candidates from Jorhat district having the distinction of mostly representing it in the Parliament.
Late Handique, the longest serving MP from Jorhat, also belonged to Ahom community, as does Tarun Gogoi, another ex-MP from Jorhat, and both were from Jorhat district. Altogether eight candidates, including two women, are in fray in Jorhat. Among the other contenders are Kamak Gogoi of CPI, Ribulaya Gogoi of Trinamool Congress and Kamala Rajkonwar of National People’s Party.
Out of the 10 Assembly segments that form Jorhat Lok Sabha constituency, BJP had won in 4 in last 2016 state polls, its ally AGP in two and Congress in 4 seats. Polling will be conducted in 1753 polling stations in the first phase on April 11 next. There are total 13,60,328 voters in the constituency, including 6,71,283 females and seven third gender voters. (UNI)