SIVASAGAR, Oct 19: A three cornered poll battle is on the cards in 107 Thowra LAC, as the constituency is bracing up for the poll day in the ensuing by elections following the resignation of the sitting Congress MLA Sushanta Borgohain prior to joining the BJP.
The Raijor Dal, the Congress and the CPI have launched aggressive campaigns to be heard and woo the voters. Akhil Gogoi, tasted an easy win in his constituency, however, the Raijor Dal candidate in Thowra, Dhaijjya Konwar, is not of the stature of their flamboyant leader Akhil Gogoi and hence the BJP team looks a bit relaxed at the moment.
Being the ruling party, the BJP has a massive advantage when it comes to the number of voters.
Secondly, the BJP-AGP candidate Sushanta Borgohain, since his tenure in the Congress, has been a charismatic leader from the dominant Ahom community.
Further, Sushanta took an early initiative in the poll campaign by a series of foundation laying ceremonies in the constituency with massive support from his former political rival but now a party colleague Kushal Duwori.
Not taking anything for granted, the BJP ministers and MLAs have made a beeline to the constituency to woo the voters since bye-elections were declared announcing massive infrastructure development programmes in the constituency.
However, the stakes before Sushanta Borgohain are high as far as the anti-incumbency factors are concerned. The Opposition’s clamour against soaring price rise of all essential commodities will certainly put a dampener over BJP’s expectations as the ruling party has virtually failed to put a curb on it to relieve the aggrieved voters with only a few days left for the poll day.
Further, as it was in the Sivasagar constituency, the 9000 Muslim voters in the constituency, may go against the BJP.
Thowra was formerly a part of the Sivasagar LAC which was represented from 1952 to 1957 by former PWD minister of Bimala Pd Chaliha Ministry, Girin Gogoi. After the constituency delimitation, the Thowra LAC with over 118 GPs was carved out of the 108 Sivasagar LAC and was first represented by the former PWD minister Durgeswar Saikia of the INC was elected for three consecutive terms from 1957 to 1972.
In 1972 Narad Kumar from the Tea Tribe won the seat for the INC. Both Durgesawr Saikia and Narad Kumar were from Moran and hence were not considered as locals by the voters in subsequent elections. With a sizable support base of the leftist camp in Rajabari, Bokota, Nemuguri, Nitai Panidihing, Jogen Gogoi of the CPI won in the 1978 elections. Tankeswwar Dihingia of the INC, an advocate from Sivasagar, won from Thowra in 1983 Assembly polls boycotted by a larger section of voters during the Assam Agitation. Dihingia was later shot dead by the ULFA extremists in 1985 near his residence in Old Amolapatty road, Sivasagar.
Riding on the AGP wave, Barki Prasad Telenga of the AGP won in 1985. Then it was Devananda Konwar of the INC who returned from the constituency for three consecutive terms from 1991 to 2006. Former ULFA strong man (Surrendered) Jayanta Hazarika alias Kushal Duwori won in 2006 as an Independent candidate. All India Youth Congress executive member Susanta Borgohain of the INC defeated Kushal Duwori in the 2011 Assembly elections. However in the 2016 elections Kushal Duwori as BJP candidate defeated Sushanta Borgohain of the INC by a margin of 1,226 votes. In the last elections held in March 2021, Sushanta Borgohain from the Congress won a hard fought battle over Kushal Duwori with a margin of 2006 votes. But his resignation after a few months prior to joining the ruling BJP, left the seat vacant necessitating fresh elections.
On asked why he should win, Sushanta Borgohain of the BJP told a news agency on Monday that the Raijor Dal do not have the organisational strength they need to counter BJP and people here have come to realise the importance of their rights to vote which they would not want to squander by supporting the Congress and the Independent candidates.
Borgohain is also optimistic with massive support of all the ministers of Dr Himanta Biswa Sarma’s cabinet in the race towards the D-Day. On the other hand, Dhaijjya Konwar of the Raijior Dal told this correspondent that the people of the Thowra LAC are desperate to have an alternative to the Congress-BJP political culture. Konwar said that the constituency is one of the most backward in the state which is a gift of the BJP-Congress politics over the decades. The Congress candidate here does not have the guts to take on the BJP candidate and therefore a large chunk of the Congress supporters have willingly come over to the Raijor Dal recently, he added.
Manuranjan Konwar, the Congress candidate, said that the rise of the independent candidates of the so-called Raijor Dal would be more dangerous than even the BJP. He said that there is no party of the people (Raij) as such, it is Akhil Gogoi’s party, not even recognised by the Election Commission which indulges in provoking the public to protest movements on even flimsy ground to create lawlessness. Konwar however made Sushanta Borgohain as his prime target of attack and said the Congress wants to prove a point in Thowra that defectors or betrayers should be taught a lesson once for all to save democracy. Advocate Krishna Gogoi of the CPI is also a very popular youth of the Constituency and has been backed by the progressive camp besides their party cadres spread across the 20 panchayats in the constituency. The Revolutionary Communist Party of India, through a release on Monday, signed by Manoranjan Sarma and Arun Gogoi, lent unconditional support to the CPI candidate for a change towards socialist democracy.