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'BJP in Assam still has much ground to cover'

Sentinel Digital DeskBy : Sentinel Digital Desk

  |  14 Sep 2015 12:00 AM GMT

RUN-UP TO 2016

Party's base in over two dozen seats poor, warns RSS survey

Prospects bright for nine Congress dissidents to secure tickets

By Our Staff Reporter

Guwahati, Sept 13: The State BJP may be basking in the glory of the party's recent successes in elections in the State and other parts of the country, but a Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) survey has sounded a cautious note in the run-up to the 2016 assembly elections.

"In more than 20 assembly constituencies, the BJP does not have a popular face or potential candidate having mass appeal. The grassroot base of the party is also weak in these constituencies," a senior RSS leader said, citing the survey. Some of these constituencies are Tingkhong, Dhemaji, Joi, Dhakuakha, Rangapara, Jagiroad and Dhekiajuli.

The party has received more than 3,000 applications for tickets from the 126 constituencies. The RSS now doubts the credibility of the aspirants from around two dozen seats where the BJP is as good as non-existent.

In the wake of the survey, the RSS and BJP have decided to give 65 per cent of the tickets - in around 82 seats - to old-timers in the party. In the remaining seats, the party will field new entrants, including leaders from the Congress, AASU, AGP and tribal organizations who have changed allegiance. By doing this, the party wants to capitalize on the bases of these local leaders in areas where it has poor presence.

This move is likely to brighten the prospects of the nine Congress legislators who are set to join the BJP soon. Sources said almost all of them might get tickets, though there could be a change in the constituency in a few cases.

However, the State BJP is not inclined take more legislators or leaders from other organizations, as it might aggravate the resentment brewing within the party.

"Moreover, if more Congress legislators join, it will lead to a collapse of the State government, resulting in President's Rule. This will not be of advantage to the BJP. Instead, any such development may put the BJP on backfoot," said a party leader.

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