* BJP continues momentum
* Reverses for Congress, Gogoi downplays loss
* Despondent AGP to explore ‘Third Front’
* Total municipal boards and town committees - 74
* BJP - 43
* Congress – 18
* AGP – 3
* NCP - 1
* Independents – 4
* Tie - 5
By Our Staff Reporter
Guwahati, February 12: Notwithstanding its colossal defeat in the Delhi Assembly elections, the BJP juggerut continued to roll in Assam where the party captured 43 of the total 74 municipal boards and town committees in the civic body elections, the results of which were declared today.
The ruling Congress got a rude wake-up call, winning only eight municipal boards and ten town committees.
The AGP’s downward spiral continued further, as it could mage only one municipal board and two town committees, prompting the party to speak of the possibility of a ‘Third Front’.
Independents got majority in two municipal boards (Rangiya and Goalpara) and as many town committees (Bokakhat and Chapar).
The BJP gained ground in all the corners of the State – from the North Bank to Barak Valley and from lower Assam to Upper Assam – decimating the Congress in a number of strongholds, including Jorhat, Margherita, Chabua, lbari, and gaon.
The Congress suffered humiliation even in Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi’s home district, where the party lost the district headquarter Jorhat. Gogoi’s saving grace was that his party edged past the BJP 5-3 at Titabor town committee, his constituency.
The AGP held on to its fort Bongaigaon (municipal board), where legislator Phani Bhusan Choudhury single-handedly maged to capture 19 of the total 25 wards for his party candidates. Patacharkuchi and Dhakuakha are two town committees where the AGP maged to secure majorities.
There was a tie between the Congress and BJP in five civic bodies – Demow town committee (2/2), Simaluguri town committee (6/6), Sori municipal board (8/8), Kampur town committee (2/2) and Sivasagar municipal board (6/6).
Dispelling the notion that the BJP was losing ground among the minorities, it maged to capture the Dhubri Municipal Board where there is a sizeable chunk of religious minority voters.
Significantly, the North Lakhimpur municipal board was captured by the Congress, in the constituency represented by Union minister and former State BJP president Sarbanda Sonowal.
Terming the civic elections a “semi-fil” in the run-up to the 2016 Assembly elections, State BJP president Siddhartha Bhattacharjee expressed joy at his party romping home. “It shows that the people were not swayed by the negative propaganda of the Congress,” he exulted.
Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi tried to downplay the loss, claiming that the performance of the BJP in the civic polls has gone down as compared to the Lok Sabha elections. “We did better than the Lok Sabha elections. But eventually in 2016, the people will realize and come back to the Congress,” Gogoi said.
AGP president Atul Bora said his party accepted the verdict and will introspect why its candidates were not accepted by the town voters. “In any case, there is an indication that people are looking for a viable altertive. We are now working on the possibility of a Third Front. For this, we are soon going to hold consultations with other parties and organizations to unite the anti-Congress and anti-BJP votes,” he said.