GUWAHATI: In their craze for election tickets, some leaders are shifting their party loyalty overnight leaving their supporters in the lurch, let alone the voters across the State.
Examples are ample: Take the Golaghat LAC (Legislative Assembly Constituency) as a case study. This LAC has 2,02,146 voters.
Though it is a straight fight between Ajanta Neog and Bitupan Saikia yet it has been possible only after they changed their party affiliations – Neog fighting the poll on a BJP ticket and Saikia on a Congress ticket.
Over the past five years, Bitupan Saikia had been working for the BJP in this constituency. For obvious reasons, he and his party workers and supporters' target for criticism was sitting MLA Ajanta Neog, besides the Congress. But with Neog fighting the election on a BJP ticket now, all BJP workers and supporters who were inimical to her are at a loss to back her. Even the voters of the constituency are a confused lot.
From 2001-2016, Ajanta Neog has been an MLA from Golaghat Constituency on Congress tickets. Prior to that, her husband (late) Nagen Neog had won the seat twice.
The situation is no different for Bitupan Saikia either. All Congress workers and supporters — who were criticizing Saikia over the years – are now at a loss to work for him.
Diphu LAC also depicts a similar picture. The BJP denied Minister Sum Ronghang party ticket; and that led him to join the Congress overnight, and he got the party ticket to contest the polls from this seat. The BJP ticket for the Constituency has been given to Bidya Singh Engleng who had joined the BJP from the Congress. In the 2016 Assembly election, both the leaders from the opposite camps had a straight fight: While Ronghang was the BJP candidate, Engleng was the Congress contender. Who'll have the last laugh in this LAC is something to be seen.
An interesting turn of events is also there in Hojai LAC. Former Congress Minister Dr Ardhendu Dey has joined the BJP after he was denied ticket by the Congress. Till yesterday, he was a BJP-basher. Won't Congress-bashing be a tongue-twisting exercise for him and his supporters now?
Dr Dey first became an MLA on a UDF (United Democratic Front) ticket in 1985. When the UDF disappeared, he joined the Congress and became MLAs and Ministers. This time, he has joined the BJP as the Congress denied poll ticket to him.
Nagaon Congress leader and former MLA Dr Durlav Chamua is likely to join the BJP on Thursday as the Congress has denied him poll ticket.
It seems that for a section of leaders, poll tickets are all that they are hankering after, regardless of their political ideology. Such leaders often make their supporters and well-wishers feel ill at ease in such suddenly changed situations. A political leader can change his colour overnight, but not all his supporters and voters.