Silchar: Though there was a definite indication about the imminent performance of Congress in the just concluded panchayat polls of not making any space in any of the ZPs of Hailakandi district, the debacle has triggered off wide-ranging discussion among the political observers and civic society. This debate is quite natural in view of the fact that the panchayat system of the district has been under the control of Congress for decades. Excepting the upset caused by the emergence of BJP in 1991 and AIUDF in 2001, Congress has been a dominant force.
Much of the credit for Congress domination has been attributed to the most controversial heavyweight minister Gautom Roy who since his political debut in 1983 has been a force to reckon with. He has earned the distinction of an unbeaten leader of the party in the seven assembly elections, winning from his home constituency of Katigorah. He had to eat a humble pie in the hands of AIUDF in the last assembly election of 2016. His record was quite near to yet another heavyweight of the party Dinesh Prasad Goala, 8 time winner from Lakhipur constituency. Quite relevant to mention that the mantle of this Congress bastion fell on the head of his son Rajdeep Goala. This time the Congress bastion fell before the poll onslaught of BJP.
Congress has scaled down to the second position in capturing 10 ZPs in Cachar while BJP upped itself to the top position by winning in 16 ZPs, relegating AIUDF on the back foot. The only cause of satisfaction for Congress is in Karimganj where it could push its arch rival BJP to the second position. While Congress could hold its reign in 10 ZPs, BJP in 6, ending the dominance of AIUDF as seen in the last panchayat polls of 2013. Against the up and down of BJP and Congress in Cachar and Karimganj, it is now hotly debated in knowledgeable political circles the plausible or possible reasons for the rout of Congress in Hailakandi.
With the coming into the scene of Rahul Roy, son of Gautom Roy, in the politics of Hailakandi, it was thought that the bastion of Congress would be more strengthened. In his very first appearance in 2006 in the assembly elections he could hit the jackpot but in 2016 he had to face defeat. Before the panchayat polls and the early stages of the campaign, father and son could hardly be seen by the people and it was making interesting headlines. It was only when the stage was finally set for the battle, Rahul Roy and Gautom Roy came on the scene, but by then the electorate had made up their mind to opt either for BJP or AIUDF. The results are revealing. In none of the 10 ZPs, Congress could make its mark. The result of 1 ZP is yet to be made public.
The setback for Congress in Hailakandi is being attributed to the enigmatic indifferent attitude towards the panchayat polls by Gautom Roy and Rahul Roy who have been virtually absent from the battle ground for long. Nor have they gone all hog to build up the shaking organizational base. Their alienation from masses has been the talk of discussion. Lower rung leaders and workers being denied party tickets have been in a state of deep resentment. AIUDF took advantage of these adverse factors. Another factor has been the concentrated campaign by AIUDF legislator from Katlicherra, Nizam Uddin Laskar, against father and son duo that they are switching over to BJP. Though Gautom Roy has refrained from making any statement on the debacle, his son Rahul Roy has blamed it on the rebels and the state leadership. Whatever may be the cause or causes, the state and the district leadership has to go for introspection if Congress is to regain the lost ground.
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