SILCHAR, March 15: Among all the constituencies in Barak Valley, Udharbond in the district of Cachar has always been in focus for its being a battle ground of key contest. Congress heavyweights have domited this constituency since the first general election. It was only in 1985 in the wake of AGP wave that Congress bastion was blasted, Jaganth Singh, a minister in successive governments and an influential trade union leader with wider acceptability in tea estates, has been on a winning spree. But, his juggerut faced the road block due to the heavy challenge from AGP candidate Joy Prakash Tiwari.
The long history of this constituency shows that in 1952, it was Raichanda th who on Congress ticket won by defeating his nearest rival. In 1957, Tajmul Ali Barlaskar contested from this seat and defeated his nearest rival Sukhamoy Sinha of Independent. The Congress maintained its victory in 1962 also when Dwarika th Tiwari won this seat. Jaganth Singh who made his maiden presence as a contestant in 1967 never looked back until 1985. In other words, except a lone defeat, INC has been winning the elections till the last polls of 2011.
After the demise of Jaganth Singh, his nephew Ajit Singh took over the mantle of facing challenges for the party in elections. In the by-election following his death, Ajit Singh entered the fray and returned unscathed. Even today, he continues to rule the roost. He is also set to contest in the assembly elections of 2016. Though the list of candidates has not been brought out till date, there is definite indication that Ajit Singh will be favoured this time also to hold aloft the party flag.
Before the coming into picture of AIUDF, it has been a direct contest between Congress and other parties. But, the AIUDF and its active involvement in electoral politics has made the elections a triangular fight. The parties now at stake are Congress, BJP and AIUDF. This has brought down the margin of victory of Congress. The simple mathematics is that the traditiol vote-bank of Congress among the Muslims has eroded in favour of AIUDF. The last parliamentary polls of 2009 and 2014 indicate that in the triangular contest, the vote share of INC, BJP and AIUDF has been more or less evenly balanced.
The combined votes of BJP and AIUDF in 2009 were 49,229 against the Congress votes of 31,489. This decline in the votes of Congress in favour of Ajit Singh is clear indication that in the event of a tie up between the opponents, INC might have to eat a humble pie. Another message that has gone is that AIUDF has substantially eaten into the traditiol vote-bank of Congress.
The selection of candidates by BJP has been an area of criticism by the party workers. This mistake, according to a dedicated supporter, is being repeated in every election not only for Udharbond constituency but across the seats in the valley. As pointed out, the candidate selected for Lakhipur has also been at the centre of controversy. Moreover, it has been aired by aggrieved workers that no proper or focused campaign is being carried on by BJP leaders. As advised by top leaders, the candidates have not been on door to door campaign or mass contact, taking advantage of the publication of lists of nominees well ahead of other parties.