From a Correspondent
Guwahati/ Lakhimpur, March 15: A day after the Congress announced its candidates in 65 seats, the dissent within the ruling party over ticket distribution boiled over on Wednesday, with even senior leaders openly rebelling against the leadership.
Supporters of ticket aspirant Gha Buragohain enforced a shutdown in Lakhimpur on Wednesday, protesting the candidature of Joy Prakash Das.
While Das is the former leader of the tiol Students' Union of India (NSUI), the student wing of the Congress, Burhagohain is the former Lakhimpur MLA who had lost to Asom Ga Parishad's Utpal Dutta in 2011 only by a margin of 1,099 votes.
Sources said some people even sustained injuries in violent clashes in the constituency.
Although there was a rumour that the bandh was called by the District Youth Congress unit, the Lakhimpur assembly constituency Youth Congress president Pranjal Pratim Konwar denied it.
State Congress president Anjan Dutta's effigy was burnt at many places.
After being denied tickets, sitting legislators Amiya Gogoi (Duliajan) and Sarat Saikia (Mahmora) minced no words in come down heavily on the party leadership.
"The candidate the party has nomited at Duliajan has a bad me in society. He collects money from vehicles. I would have accepted it had the party nomited a candidate better than me. If one goes by the candidates' list, I feel the tally of the Congress will go down in the coming elections," Amiya Gogoi said.
Three-time MLA from Mahmora Sarat Saikia alleged that Anjan Dutta had been targeting him since the last few years.
"I have been an MLA for the last fifteen years. The Congress also fared well in the recent panchayat elections. But I was anticipating such a thing might happen," Saikia, who may contest as an independent candidate, said.
Though the Congress is yet to declare its candidate for Baghbor constituency, angry workers gheraoed the Rajiv Bhavan there in the wake of reports that AIUDF MLA Sherman Ali - who recently joined the Congress - may get the ticket from the seat.
Similarly, resentment was seen among Congress workers at Bongaigaon from where former AASU president Shankar Prasad Rai is the frontrunner to get the party ticket.
Meanwhile, State Congress president Anjan Dutta, who returned from New Delhi today, admitted that he was opposed to Speaker Prab Kumar Gogoi getting the ticket from Sivasagar.
"I simply opposed because I think people over 70 years of age should give way to young people. There are only seven candidates above 70 years of age is the list of 65 candidates announced yesterday," Dutta said.
Sources said that Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi backed the Speaker's application in a bid to retain the support of the Ahom community in Upper Assam.
In the 65 assembly seats, the party has fielded new faces in 12, denying tickets to those who were defeated in the past elections. In seven other seats, "sons and daughters" have replaced the sitting MLAs.
Abdul Muhib Mazumdar was also not given the party ticket, apart from sitting legislators Amiya Gogoi and Sarat Saikia.