SILCHAR, March 13: Has BJP given walk over to Congress on Lakhipur seat? This issue has become a hot topic in politics and knowledgeable circles. The poll history of Lakhipur shows since the first general election of 1952, it has been a fort of Congress for long. INC has maintained its winning spree with a break in 1978 when independent Quazi Kutub Uddin wrested the seat from Congress. Since the assembly elections of 1983, lecturer turned politician Dinesh Prasad Goala, a trade union leader with his wide influence in the tea belts of Barak Valley continued to defeat his rivals until his sudden demise in 2014.
The by-election that followed, his son Rajdeep Goala overcoming the challenges of BJP, AGP and AIUDF came out victorious. In the elections of 2001, 2006 and 2011, the nearest rival of Congress, Ree Singh of BJP faced defeat successively. In the by-election of 2014, Sanjay Thakur nomited by BJP, a trade union leader and law graduate, could take into stride the challenge of Rajdeep Goala and posed serious threat to him. However, sympathy wave helped Rajdeep to return unscathed with much reduced margin at the hustings.
With changing political equation and power against the backdrop of the emergence of BJP and AIUDF, the pitch of success of Congress has been queered, no doubt. But, the strong hold of Cachar Cha Sramik Union, a pro Congress trade union body, among the tea garden workers, is a redeeming feature for the party. The traditiol vote bank of Muslims which always supported Congress is now a split block on which AIUDF has made inroads.
In order to turn turtle the apple cart of Congress in Lakhipur, the opposition has to win over tea garden workers, minority voters, tribal communities as well as Manipuris. Interestingly, Lakhipur constituency on the border with North Cachar Hills and Manipur is also a home to different tribes. Sanjay Thakur of BJP who contested against Rajdeep Goala did make a dent in the tea belts in particular to reduce the margin of defeat greatly.
It is hard to understand in what perspective and assessment, BJP central committee in Delhi gave nomition to a less known candidate Thoiba Singha to contest Lakhipur seat. It is also said that he has neither any rapport or contact with masses nor any influence in the tea gardens. Dr. Rajdeep Roy, BJP state general secretary, dismissed it as “a disinformation campaign against Thoiba Singha who comes from a highly respectable family, well educated and has been working for the party for long. He has also been engaged in grass root level magement.” Moreover, as he revealed, he has the support of ‘Sangh Parivar’.
Dr. Rajdeep Roy further pointed out the selection committee at the district and block level has carried out survey of the constituency to filly decide about the candidature of Thoiba Singha. Despite sizeable presence of Manipuris in the constituency, Congress has never shown any respect to the sentiments and feelings of the community by nomiting any of their community. Manipuri organizations, students and youths as well as social and cultural, have been clamouring for a candidate to represent the community. BJP, it should be noted, gave ticket to Ree Singh, a Manipuri for three consecutive elections. Unfortutely, she lost. But, considering the winbility of Thoiba Singha, the central committee of the party has selected him for the most sensitive constituency.
It is to be recalled that Thoiba Singha, former Youth Congress general secretary of Guwahati, joined BJP along with his 600 male and female followers on March 7, 2015 at a function organized at Shibpur, 30 km from here. It was presided over by Kabindra Purkayastha, former union minister, and attended by frontline leaders of the party. Thoiba Singha, who was actively associated with Congress for the last 17 years and was instrumental in the election success of Dinesh Prasad Goala.
Thoiba Singha said he was inspired by the call of Prime Minister rendra Modi for freeing the country from Congress and its corruptions. It would be his endeavour along with the party workers to fulfill Mission-84 for the Assembly elections of 2016. He was confident it would be achieved and with that objective he would launch campaign from the grass root level to whip up support for BJP. That the BJP is now a rising force in Lakhipur sub-division can well be understood from the fact that during the last civic polls, the party could win five of the ten seats in the municipal board.