Rajya Sabha elections
BY OUR STAFF REPORTER
GUWAHATI, Feb 9: At a time when the BJP-led NDA government at the Centre is desperately hoping the numbers game in the Rajya Sabha turn to its favour, the Tarun Gogoi-led Congress government in Assam is all set to boost the Congress tally in the Upper House by sending two more members from the State.
Just ahead of the State assembly elections, the political arithmetic is in favour of the Congress, thanks to the divided Opposition.
The terms of two Rajya Sabha members from Assam, znin Farooqi and Pankaj Bora, both from the Congress, will end on April 3 this year. The elections to these two seats were held in 2010, for which notification was issued on March 9 and elections held on March 26. znin Farooqi and Late Silvius Kondappan from the Congress were elected, but after Kondappan’s demise, Pankaj Bora was sent to the Upper House in the ensuing by-election.
In 2010, the common candidate of the Opposition was media tycoon Jayanta Baruah. The then Congress strongman and minister Himanta Biswa Sarma played a key role in Baruah’s defeat.
This year, had the Opposition been united, it would have been difficult for the Congress to send two MPs to the Rajya Sabha. But as the AIUDF and the BJP are in no mood of coming to an understanding, it is more a cakewalk for the Congress. At present, the Congress has 69 MLAs in the House — whereas in the Opposition, the AIUDF has 18, BPF 12, AGP 7 and BJP 6 MLAs, along with a lone TMC member and two Independents.
Meanwhile, sources in the Congress have informed that the party is somewhat divided in terms of candidates for the Rajya Sabha. A section is backing Paban Singh Ghatowar whereas another section wants APCC president Anjan Dutta as candidate. Some MLAs have also sent a representation to Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi and the Congress high command seeking Ghatowar’s candidature.
Meanwhile, Pankaj Bora is said to be eyeing a full term and is trying to get his party to endorse his candidature a second time.