Neck-to-neck fight between BJP-Cong awaits

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HT Correspondent

HOJAI, March 21: A neck-to-neck contest is likely to be seen between the ruling BJP and the opposition Congress in Hojai constituency which goes for polls in the second phase of assembly elections on April 1.

Since 1977, the Hojai constituency has been a stronghold of the Congress party for almost 30 years. Leaders of Swatantra Party, Janata Party, All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF) also represented this constituency several times.

This time BJP denied ticket to sitting MLA Shiladitya Dev and fielded Ramkrishna Ghosh while Congress also denied ticket to former MLA Ardhendu Dey and fielded Debobrata Saha from the constituency.

Three other candidates are also in the fray from Hojai. They are: Dulal Sutradhar (Independent), Nazmul Hussain Laskar (Independent) and Raj Kumar Gupta (Lok Raksha Party).

However, it is observed that the three candidates will not be able to do any significant damage to Congress or BJP’s vote bank.

It is believed that the absence of Shiladitya Dev in the race will have an impact on BJP’s vote bank. Even as Dev decided to contest the polls as an independent candidate, later he decided to stay with the saffron party, which is a major relief for Ramkrishna Ghosh.

However, the absence of Ardhendu Dey in the Congress party will definitely erode the vote bank of the Congress this time. Dey has joined the BJP along with thousands of his supporters and vowed to defeat Congress in the elections.

Political pundits say that Dey’s joining in BJP has increased the possibility of BJP’s winning in the elections.

There are 2,63,780 voters in the constituency. Of them 1,35,394 are male, 1,23,780 female and 5 third gender voters  in the constituency.

Altogether 59% voters are Hindu voters and 41% are Muslim voters. Definitely, religious minority voters will prefer to vote for Congress-AIUDF candidate Debobrata Saha.

Hojai is the hometown of AIUDF supremo Maulana Badruddin Ajmal. If the minority voters are united, the victory of Saha cannot be stopped.

In 2016 elections, BJP’s Shiladitya Dev had secured 1,05,615 votes, while his nearest rival AIUDF candidate Dhaniram Thousen managed to get 49,756 votes and Congress candidate Ardhendu Dey received 35,207 votes.

In 2011, Congress candidate AK Dey had secured 70,649 votes, his rival AIUDF candidate Dr. Aditya Langthasa got 50,755 votes while BJP candidate Shiladitya Dev got 30,011 votes.

These figures of the last two elections clearly shows that there will be a close contest between the BJP and Congress in Hojai constituency.

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