Congress to contest 2021 Assam assembly polls in alliance with five parties

GUWAHATI: The Congress will allot no seats to its six partners of the Grand Alliance in any of the 47 seats that are going to polls in the first phase in Assam, a party source said on Sunday.

The opposition party and other constituents of the grouping are yet to officially announce their seat-sharing arrangements.

The Congress on Saturday night issued the first list of 40 candidates for the first phase of polling on March 27, for which the last date of nomination is on Tuesday.

A Congress source told PTI that the second list will be out late on Sunday night and it will consist of names of candidates for the seven remaining constituencies that are going to polls in the first phase.

The list will also have names of nominees for the second phase in which polling will be held in 39 constituencies on April 1.

The third and the last phase of the assembly polls will be held on April 6.

Since early morning on Sunday, AICC general secretary Jitendra Singh, AICC chief strategist Naresh Arora, state unit president Ripun Bora and other senior leaders have been deliberating on the second list at a luxury resort on the outskirts of Guwahati.

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The party’s Campaign Committee chairman Pradyut Bordoloi, Manifesto Committee chief Gaurav Gogoi, Legislature Party leader Debabrata Saikia and senior MLA Rakibul Hussain also took part in the meeting.

The first list did not have a candidate for the prestigious Titabor constituency, represented by former three-time Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi.

Though a party spokesperson declined to comment on the probable candidate for Titabar, the source said that DesignBoxed Creatives, a political strategy firm engaged to devise the Congress plan of action for the polls, has suggested Gogoi’s parliamentarian son Gaurav for the constituency.

“The AICC has also approved Gaurav’s name for Titabar. Now, the party’s state unit has to approve his name,” the source said.

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The Congress, which was in power for 15 years in Assam since 2001, has formed a ‘Grand Alliance’ with the AIUDF, Bodoland People’s Front (BPF), CPI, CPI(M), CPI(ML) and the Anchalik Gana Morcha (AGM) to fight the upcoming Assembly election against the BJP-led NDA.

The 2016 elections in Assam gave a fractured mandate and no party got an absolute majority.

The Congress had won 26 seats, while the All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF) bagged 13.

The BJP became the single largest party with 60 MLAs, while its allies Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) and the BPF had won 14 and 12 seats respectively.

The ruling coalition also had the support of an Independent MLA.