Dibrugarh, Jorhat Among 9 Seats That Will Witness Keen Contest In Assam

Dibrugarh and Jorhat are among the nine major constituencies which will be in focus during the forthcoming Lok Sabha polls in Assam. Union minister Sarbananda Sonowal is pitted against Assam Jatiya Parishad’s Lurinjyoti Gogoi in Dibrugarh while Deputy Leader of the Opposition in the outgoing Parliament Gaurav Gogoi will take on BJP MP Topon Gogoi.

The elections will be held in three phases on April 19, 26 and May 7.

Assam has 14 Lok Sabha constituencies with BJP holding nine, Congress three, and the AIUDF and an independent one seat each in the outgoing house.

The NDA alliance in the state is contesting in all the 14 constituencies. The BJP has announced candidates in 11 seats while its partners Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) will contest in two seats and the United Peoples’ Party Liberal (UPPL) in one.

The Congress, a constituent of the 16-party United Opposition Forum Assam (UOFA), will contest in 12 seats and has left the Dibrugarh seat for AJP. There has been no decision yet for the Lakhimpur seat.

The key seats identified in Assam are Dibrugarh, Jorhat, Kaziranga, Guwahati, Dhubri, Sonitpur, Nagaon, Barpeta and Silchar.

Following are the brief profiles of the nine constitutions.

1. Dibrugarh: Union Minister Sarbananda Sonowal is the BJP candidate for this commercially significant constituency with tea gardens and oil wells. He will take on AJP’s Lurinjyoti Gogoi, UOFA’s consensus candidate. Both Sonowal, a former chief minister, and Gogoi are former office-bearers of the All Assam Students’ Union (AASU). Sonowal, the first non-Congress candidate to win the seat as an AGP candidate in 2004, has replaced Union Minister Rameswar Teli, who had won the 2019 polls by over three lakh votes. Gogoi had spearheaded the anti-CAA protests in 2019 as an AASU General Secretary and later went on to form the AJP, becoming its founder president.

2. Jorhat: Deputy leader of the opposition in the outgoing Parliament Gaurav Gogoi (Congress) will take on BJP’s sitting MP Topon Gogoi in this seat. Gaurav has been shifted from the neighbouring Kaliabor (renamed as Kaziranga by the delimitation exercise) seat, which he represented twice since 2014.

3. Kaziranga: The contest in this seat, christened as such in the delimitation exercise last year, will be mainly between two candidates belonging to the tea tribe community. BJP’s Rajya Sabha MP and the party’s state spokesperson Kamakhya Prasad Tasa will take on former Sarupathar Congress MLA Roselina Tirkey.

4. Guwahati: This prestigious seat, being the Gateway to the North East, will witness a contest between two women candidates of the BJP and Congress. The BJP replaced sitting MP Queen Ojha with its state party vice president Bijuli Kalita Medhi, while the Congress nominated spokesperson Mira Borthakur Goswami. In 2019 too, both parties had women candidates for the seat. It has been represented by women since 2009 when BJP’s Bijoya Chakravarty was elected.

5. Dhubri: A minority-dominated constituency, Dhubri will witness a triangular contest with AIUDF president Badruddin Ajmal making a bid for the Lok Sabha for the fourth consecutive term but the going may be tough with the Congress putting up former minister and current Samaguri MLA Rakibul Hussain while the NDA alliance has AGP’s Zaved Islam as its candidate.

6. Nagaon: The central Assam constituency is also likely to witness a keen contest between sitting Congress MP Pradyut Bordoloi and his former confidante Suresh Bora, who shifted his allegiance to the BJP recently.

7. Sonitpur: It is a constituency in the North Bank of the Brahmaputra with diverse demographic equations. BJP gave the ticket to Behali MLA Ranjit Dutta and the Congress to its state general secretary Prem Lal Ganju. Both Dutta, a minister in the Sonowal government, and Ganju will contest Lok Sabha polls for the first time.

8. Silchar: One of the two constituencies in the Barak Valley, Silchar was declared a Scheduled Caste constituency in the delimitation exercise last year. It has a sizeable Hindu Bengali population which welcomes the CAA. Veteran BJP leader and Assam’s Excise, Transport and Fisheries Minister Parimal Suklabaidya and Congress’s youth leader and district general secretary Surjya Kanta Sarkar will fight it out for the crucial seat.

9. Barpeta: Earlier a minority-dominated area, the constituency’s assembly segments have been reworked during the delimitation exercise and there has been a demographic realignment. As a result, the Congress replaced its sitting MP Abdul Khaleque with Assam Pradesh Seva Dal president Deep Bayan while the NDA has left it for AGP and its former minister Phanibhushan Choudhury will contest from the seat. The CPI(M), a constituent of the UOFA, has also announced that its Sorbhog MLA Manoranjan Kalita will contest from the seat. 

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