SILCHAR, March 11: The border assembly seat of Karimganj (north) has been traditiolly a Congress domain since the first general elections of 1952. Moreover, it was also a seat in which Hindu candidates have been elected. The demographic structure and the number of voters have been favouring the Hindu candidate. But, it was in the election of 1972, Abdul Muktadir Choudhury was the first Muslim candidate to win and break the Hindu domition. Since then, the scerio at the hustings changed. The emergence of saffron surge of 90’s and the AIUDF in 2006 has brought about a different colour and verve to the contest.
It is to be recalled that Abdul Muktadir Choudhury was a minister in Assam Cabinet and held a sway over Muslim voters. To ensure his winning spree, he thought it wise to shift to Karimganj (south) as it was a Muslim domited constituency. The Congress domition in the five constituencies of Karimganj which included Karimganj (north), Karimganj (south), Badarpur, Patharkandi and Ratabari was also on wane with strong contenders from BJP and AIUDF.
Incidentally, CPM, which made its appearance in this valley with the strong campaign of its trade union wings and a sort of swing of white collar job holders towards the left, had its own impact. In 1978, Nishith Ranjan Choudhury of CPM won the election. However, in the election of 1983, it was again Congress candidate Ketaki Prasad Dutta who made his mark as a successful candidate. Thereafter, for long 28 years, Congress was almost eclipsed. It was AGP’s Sirajul Haque Choudhury who won two times from this seat in 1985 and 1996. It was the period when Prafulla Kumar Mahanta led the AGP government as its chief minister.
As mentioned earlier, the saffron surge of 90’s saw Mission Ranjan Das of BJP being elected consecutively for three times in 1991, 2001 and 2006. But, it was again the turn of Congress to make a comeback and its candidate Kamalakhya Dey Purkayastha got elected. He is again projected to be the party candidate from this seat. So long, the contest has been mainly bipolar. The emergence of AIUDF brought into picture the well known and influential Hafiz Rashid Choudhury who contested in 2001, but lost.
Interestingly, the game of power played by Gautom Roy, the then minister and a prime player in the Hailakandi politics, extended his influence in Karimganj. Ketaki Prasad Dutta, known for his anti Roy stand, failed to repeat his performance of 1983 due to the alleged sabotage of Gautom Roy who could swing Hindu votes for Mission Ranjan Das. Ketaki Prasad Dutta, who is now the president of Karimganj district Congress committee, has also been against the Kamalakhya Dey Purkayastha. This interl conflict in Congress smoothened the pitch of Mission Ranjan Das to maintain his winning spree. The three time winner Mission Ranjan Das became over confident and in the process lost his rapport with masses and grass root level workers and paved the way for Congress.
According to party sources, Kamalakhya Dey Purkayastha is most likely be the selection of the state committee for this election of 2016 also. It is still a matter of conjecture who will be nomited by AIUDF. From all accounts, Karimganj (north) is set for triangular contest, a pattern to be reflected in all other 15 constituencies of this valley. It is also significant to note that the last two parliamentary elections of 2009 and 2014 have returned AIUDF candidates, Rajesh Mallah and Radheshyam Biswas.