Express News Service
NEW DELHI/GUWAHATI: The BJP on Friday unveiled its first list 70 candidates for the Assam ssembly elections, denying tickets to 11 incumbent legislators, largely on the grounds of not cooperating in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, non-performance and to make space for the turncoats.The BJP’s North-east “Sherpa” and Assam minister Himanta Biswa Sarma is learnt to have bagged tickets for a good number of his followers in the first list.
The BJP also unveiled seat adjustments with allies Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) and United People’s Party Liberal (UPPL), which will contest 26 and eight seats, respectively. The BJP will contest in 92 of the 126 seats in Assam. Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal, Sarma, and BJP state chief Ranjeet Kumar Dass will contest from Majuli, Jalukbari and Patacharkuchi, respectively. BJP national general secretary Arun Singh explained that the party has a tradition of changing faces in elections.
However, sources said “a few of the sitting MLAs were punished for not working for BJP’s Lok Sabha candidates in the 2019 elections, which included the likes of Silchar Parliamentary constituency”. The BJP dropped Hills Area Development Minister Sum Ronghang, Rituparna Barua from Lahowal, Amar Chand Jain from Katigorah, Ashok Sarma from Nalbari, Joyram Engleng from Howraghat, Mansing Rongpi from Baithalangsu, BB Hagzer from Haflong, Dilip Paul from Silchar, Kishore Nath from Borkhola, Debananda Hazarika from Bihpuria and Nabanita Handique from Sonari constituency.
Turncoats from the ranks of the Congress, who bagged the BJP symbol included former legislators Bidya Sing Engleng (former chief of Karbi Anglong Autonomous Council), Jayanta Malla Barua, Ajanta Neog and Gautam Roy, known as “King of Barak Valley”. Dorsingh Ronghang, of Left pedigree, was also fielded in the elections. Dilip Paul, former Assembly deputy Speaker, and businessman Dwipayan Chakraborty also got the BJP nod to contest the polls.
Sonowal exuded confidence of victory. “We’ve ensured peace and development, and people will bless us with another mandate”. To his earlier claims of not contesting elections, Sarma said it was the decision of the BJP leadership that he should be in the electoral ring. Along with Dass, this troika in the elections is giving rise to speculations of a post-poll re-think in the party for the post of chief minister.
BJP will field candidates in 70 of the 126 Assembly seats in Assam. Its allies Asom Gana Parishad and United People’s Party Liberal will contest in 26 and 8 seats, respectively
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Cricketer Riyan among poll ‘icons’Guwahati: Four prominent personalities, including cricketer and first-time voter Riyan Parag, were on Friday chosen as ‘icons’ to encourage people to exercise their franchise during the Assam assembly polls. Besides Parag, who plays for Rajasthan Royals in the IPL, actor Kopil Bora, singer Anindita Paul and para-cyclist Rakesh Banik were selected as ‘icons’ to motivate voters, officials said.