GUWAHATI: It will be a tough poll battle between two women in the prestigious Gauhati Lok Sabha constituency. A man will, however, play a crucial role.
Altogether 17 candidates are in the fray for the Gauhati Parliamentary seat where the election is scheduled to be held on April 23. The candidates are Queen Oja ( BJP), Bobbeeta Sharma (Indian National Congress), Manoj Sharma (All India Trinamool Congress), Abhijit Chakravarty (Bharatiya Gana Parishad), Sadek Ali ( Republican Party of India), Pankaj Das (Swarna Bharat Party), Partha Pratim Baruah (Voters Party International ), Mamoni Sharma ( Purbanchal Janta Party – Secular), Rajiv Kakoti (Hindustan Nirman Dal), Ratul Sharma Choudhury (Samajwadi Party), Rubi Neog ( Indian Republican Congress), Upamanyu Hazarika (Independent), Utpal Borgohain (Indepedent), Junmoni Devi Khaund (Independent), Faruk Ahmed Bhuyan (Independent), Shankha Sinha ( Independent) and Alimuddin Ahmed (Independent).
Experts, who are closely monitoring the election dynamics, said even though the main fight in Gauhati constituency will be confined between two women from the ruling BJP (Queen Oja) and Congress (Bobbeeta Sharma), the Independent male candidate — Upamanyu Hazarika — will give a tough and interesting fight to both women. Hazarika, a senior advocate of the Supreme Court who is spearheading a lone movement against influx of illegal Bangladeshis, NRC update and opposition to the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2019 shortly known as CAB, has termed the ensuing election as the "last hope for the indigenous people of Assam".
Hazarika said if he wins the election, he will leave no stone unturned to compel Delhi and Dispur to make Assam free from Bangladeshis, frame separate laws to safeguard the rights of the indigenous people and scrap the CAB. According to poll experts Hazarika is likely to gain a good number of anti-CAB votes from the indigenous people. Hazarika said he is hopeful of his victory since the indigenous people have seen the double standard of political parties on their vital issues.
On other hand, both the BJP and the Congress candidates are extremely confident of winning the election.
"The people will vote for the BJP as they want to see Narendra Modi as the Prime Minister for the second time. The people have seen good and commendable work that the Modi government has done for Assam in just five years. There is no alternative but to vote for the BJP to keep development work to continue for the coming years," Queen Oja told The Sentinel.
Oja, who was also the Mayor of Guwahati Municipal Corporation in the nineties, said solving drinking water crisis will be her top priority if she is elected to the Lok Sabha.
Congress candidate Bobbeeta Sharma told this newspaper that the voters of Gauhati Lok Sabha constituency are educated and politically conscious and have seen the false promises that the BJP made during the 2014 Parliamentary election. "The BJP has u-turns on all important issues concerning the indigenous people of Assam. So, I have strong reasons to believe that the people will rectify their mistake committed in the 2014 elections, and will definitely cast their votes in favour of the Congress," Sharma said.
Gauhati Lok Sabha constituency spreading over 10 Assembly constituencies namely Dudhnoi (ST), Boko (ST), Chaygaon, Palasbari, Hajo, Jalukbari, Dispur, Gauhati East, Gauhati West and Barkhetri, has 21,99,1112 voters. There are 11,23,5129 male voters, 10,75,5492 female voters and 491 third gender. In the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, the BJP candidate Bijoya Chakravarty defeated the Congress candidate Manash Borah by a huge margin of 3,15,784 votes.
Unlike other Parliamentary constituencies of Assam where one or another party has been winning the elections for decades, not a single political party has so far been able to dominate the Gauhati LS constituency for more than two consecutive terms. Such a wining trend is continuing since the elections to the first Lok Sabha held in 1951-52. So if Queen Oja wins this election the BJP will create a sort of record by grabbing the prestigious Gauhati seat for the third consecutive term. But the Congress and Independent candidates like Upamanyu Hazarika are determined to emerge victorious. So till May 23 (the day of counting votes), everyone will have to keep their fingers crossed to see the next elected representative from the prestigious Gauhati constituency in the Indian Parliament.
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