Rupak Sarma, Jitu Goswami of BJP have upper hands
By Hareswar Bora
NAGAON, March 20: A tough neck-to-neck contest is likely to be seen between the ruling BJP and opposition Congress in the historical Barhampur and Nagaon Sadar constituencies respectively this time too.
Both the constituencies are being considered as two important citadels of regional political party, Asom Gana Parishad and also marking as a safe ground for Assamese nationalism so far.
A total of 1,77,181 voters, of which 87,269 male and 87,907 female, will exercise their franchise this time to elect their representative in Barhampur constituency while in Nagaon Sadar constituency, a total of 1,87,433 voters, of which 92,631 male and 94,795 female, will decide the fate of around 10 contestants.
Significantly, there are more than 70,000 Muslim voters in Nagaon Sadar constituency while in Barhampur constituency, more than 40,000 Muslim voters will exercise their franchise this time.
Congress candidate Suresh Bora is contesting in Barhampur for the third time, while the ruling BJP led alliance fielded Jitu Goswami for the first time in Barhampur constituency after the denial of a ticket to founder president of Asom Gana Parishad, former CM, P K Mahanta who held the seat consecutively for more than 25 years.
Similarly, the sitting MLA Rupak Sarma is projected by the ruling BJP in Nagaon Sadar while the opposition Congress fielded Santanu Sarma, son of the former Congress minister Lt Mukut Sarma as its candidate in the constituency.
The indigenous Assamese voters in these two constituencies always play a pivotal role to decide the fate of those contestants and because of that the regional political party Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) was able to capture the seat till today since 1985.
Hence it is apparent to say that the regional political party Asom Gana Parishad has a strong hold in Barhampur. But due to the denial of the party ticket to Mahanta this time, a wave of anti-incumbency as well as an undercurrent of dissatisfaction among the grassroots party activists as well as their supporters is silently active in the entire constituency which may influence the voters.
Besides, a sizeable number of voters who opposed the amendment of citizenship act are still silent in the constituency and likely may go against the ruling BJP led alliance.
It may be mentioned that although Congress candidate Suresh Bora surrendered the seat to Mahanta consecutively for the last two times, yet he was able to woo the people in the constituency and also built a stronghold in the constituency during the last five years.
Moreover, Bora frequently visited the voters in their respective homes in their well and woe through which he apparently increased his popularity among the voters of the constituency during the last 10 years.
It is pertinent to say that in the last parliamentary election, the BJP’s candidate for Nagaon Parliamentary constituency, the sitting Nagaon MLA Rupak Sarma secured more than 87,000 votes in Barhampur.
Significantly, BJP candidate Jitu Goswami is a new face for most of voters in the constituency.
On the other hand, in Nagaon Sadar constituency, the sitting BJP MLA Rupak Sarma is just ahead in the race as the opposition Congress fielded Santanu Sarma instead of former Congress MLA Dr Durlav Chamua this time. Due to the unusual decision of the party high command, a huge fraction of Congress activists who support Dr Chamua resigned from the party and joined the BJP.
Besides, during his first five years tenure as MLA of Nagaon constituency, Rupak Sarma had left no stone unturned to rebuild Nagaon and accomplished a host of development projects in the entire constituency which might hold sway over the voters.
Similarly, being a cultural activist, the incumbent MLA Sarma is more popular among the voters of the constituency than his brother, Congress candidate Santanu Sarma is comparatively a new face for the people in the constituency so far.
As per the opinions of the politically conscious viewers, BJP candidate Rupak Sarma may overcome the battle this time too.