GUWAHATI: Bongaigaon LAC (Legislative Assembly Constituency) may witness a record in electoral politics in the State if senior AGP leader and State Food and Civil Supplies Minister Phani Bhushan Choudhury comes out winner. Choudhury, a seven-time MLA from this constituency in a row since 1985, is vying for the Bongaigaon seat for the eighth term.
In the history of electoral politics in Assam only Late Rameswar Dhanowar of the Congress had been MLA for eight consecutive terms from 1978-2016, from Digboi LAC. If Choudhury comes out winner, he will join Dhanowar's club.
The Bongaigaon LAC has long been an AGP bastion. In all elections like panchayat poll and local urban body poll, the AGP has been the winner in this LAC segment since 1985, let alone the Assembly poll.
In this Assembly election, Bongaigaon LAC has as many as eight candidates. Besides Phani Bhushan Choudhury, the others are Shankar Prasad Rai of the Congress, Prabhat Baisnab of the National People's Party, Dipu Choudhury of the AJP (Assam Jatiya Parishad), Santanu Mukherjee of the Political Justice Party, Sabendra Basumatary of the Voters Party International, Kailash Das (Independent) and Gautam Dutta (Independent).
Bongaigaon LAC has 1,76,306 electors – 87,324 males, 88,981 females and 1 transgender. It has 260 polling stations. The LAC is going to poll in the third and final phase on April 6, 2021.
In the 2016 Assembly election in the State AGP candidate Phani Bhushan Choudhury retained the seat defeating Congress candidate Shankar Prasad Rai by a margin of 31,320 votes. While Choudhury polled 77,292 votes, his nearest Congress rival Rai polled 45,972 votes.
According to political pundits, the constituency is set for a straight fight between Phani Bhushan Choudhury and Shankar Prasad Rai, this time also.
Talking to The Sentinel, Phani Bhushan Choudhury said, "In the past 35 years, I never harmed anybody of Bongaigaon. The rest lies with the voters of the LAC to do justice with me.
"In the past five years, the road sector in Bongaigaon got a boost. Works relating to an engineering college, a planetarium, a stadium and many works related to infrastructure are going on in the LAC. The work of a new B.Ed. College is nearing completion. Cosmopolitan Bongaigaon has been the middle name of social harmony for the past 35 years."
On the contrary, talking to The Sentinel, Shankar Prasad Rai of the Congress said, "For the past 35 years, the development of Bongaigaon LAC has not been as expected. The people of the constituency want a change now. Bongaigaon has scopes for industrialization. However, with no emphasis from the local MLA there has been no industrialization here."