BJP-led alliance set to form successive govt in Assam


GUWAHATI: The ruling BJP led alliance in Assam is all set to form the government for the second consecutive term after winning 75 seats out of the 126-member assembly.

The opposition ”Grand Alliance” comprising the Congress, AIUDF and eight other parties, have won 50 seats.

Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal defeated his nearest Congress rival and former Congress Minister Rajib Lochan Pegu by 43,192 votes to retain his Majuli seat for the second consecutive term.

Among the prominent candidates who won are health, finance and education minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, who retained his Jalukbari constituency for the fifth consecutive term defeating his Congress opponent Romen Chandra Borthakur by a whopping 1,01,911 votes, improving upon his previous record of 85,935 votes in 2016.

Speaker of the outgoing assembly Hitendra Nath Goswami, who was trailing in the earlier rounds behind former Congress MLA Rana Goswami, managed to clinch a victory by a margin of 6488 votes.

His deputy Aminul Haque Laskar, however, lost the race in Sonai constituency to AIUDF’s Karimuddin Barbhuiya.

Congress Legislature Party Leader Debabrata Saikia managed a slender win over BJP’s Mayur Borgohain by 683 votes. Among the prominent losers is Congress state unit president Ripun Bora, who was defeated by BJP’s Utpal Borah in Gohpur by 29,294 votes.

Besides Sonowal, 13 of his ministers retained their seats comfortably, while the four others – three from BPF, and Sum Ronghang who joined the Congress after he was denied a BJP ticket, lost from their respective constituencies. Among the BJP ministers who retained their respective seats are Chandra Mohan Patowary from Dharmapur, Parimal Suklabaidya from Dholai and Ranjit Dutta from Behali. The others are Sidhartha Bhattacharya from Gauhati East, Naba Doley from Dhakuakhana, Sanjoy Kishan from Tinsukia, Jogen Mohan from Mahmara, Bhabesh Kalita from Rangiya and Pijush Hazarika from Jagiroad.

AGP ministers Atul Bora, Keshab Mahanta and Phanibhushan Choudhury retained their Bokakhat, Kaliabor and Bongaigaon seats respectively. Choudhury retained his seat for a record eighth successive term since 1985.

Former Congress minister Ajanta Neog, who joined the saffron party before the election, retained her Golaghat seat by defeating Congress candidate Bitupan Saikia by 9325 votes.

Another former Congress minister Gautam Roy, who contested on a BJP ticket ironically lost to Congress candidate Khaliluddin Mazumdar in Katigora seat by 6939 votes.

Congress sitting MLAs Rakibul Hussain from Samaguri and Rupjyoti Kurmi from Mariani retained their respective constituencies.

Bhaskar Jyoti Baruah won in Titabor, which was earlier represented by three-time chief minister Tarun Gogoi and another former party MLA Sushanta Borgohain wrested Thowra from sitting BJP MLA Kushal Dowari.

Jailed Raijor Dal President Akhil Gogoi, who contested as an independent, won the Sibsagar constituency by defeating his nearest BJP rival Surabhi Rajkonwari by 11.878 votes.

New political party Assam Jatiya Parishad made a disastrous electoral foray. It failed to open its account and the party president Lurinjyoti Gogoi lost from both the constituencies he contested. BPF, a part of the outgoing ruling alliance had quit had joined the Grand Alliance after the BJP severed its ties with it.

It won four seats but all its three ministers- Pramila Rani Brahma, Chandan Brahma and Rihon Daimary lost to their respective UPPL rivals.

Former Asam Sahitya Sabha President Parmananda Rajbongshi won the Sipajhar seat on a BJP ticket.

But popular Bhojpuri singer Kalpana Patowary, who contested on an AGP ticket, failed in her poll attempt and lost to sitting Congress MLA Jakir Hussain Sikdar in Sarukhetri. Assam has a 126-member assembly and 64 seats are needed for a simple majority. PTI