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BJP fields new faces in Northeast, relies on old guard for support

The old leaders have assured that they will support these (new) candidates, says BJP’s Ram Madhav

, ET Bureau|
Mar 28, 2019, 07.38 AM IST
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GUWAHATI: While the five sitting MPs from Assam have been denied tickets by the BJP this time, four sitting MLAs of the saffron party, including two ministers, will be contesting the Lok Sabha polls.

BJP had won seven of the 14 seats in Assam in the 2014 LS polls. While the sitting Tezpur MP Ram Prasad Sharmah has been denied a ticket, Assam Labour Minister Pallab Lochan Das has been given a seat.

The second MLA to receive a seat is power minister Topon Gogoi, who joined politics from the All Assam Students Union (AASU) and won from the Sonari seat in the 2016 assembly polls replacing a prominent BJP tea tribe leader, Kamakhya Prasad Tassa in Jorhat.

BJP’s candidate from Karimganj, Kripanath Mallah, who is the deputy speaker in the state assembly, has also received a ticket. Another MLA who has received the ticket is Rupak Sarmah, a first-time MLA from Nagaon Sadar. However, four-time MP from Nagaon, Union minister of state for Railways Rajen Gohain, has been denied a BJP ticket.

Former industry minister, Pradyut Bordoloi, has been fielded by the Congress from Nagaon. In Mangaldoi, the party has fielded Dilip Saikia replacing Ramen Deka. Saikia has been associated with BJP’s organisational work for more than a decade and is the party’s general secretary.

In Diphu, the party has fielded member of council, Haren Singh Bey. While the BJP has retained Rameswar Teli from Dibrugarh and Pradhan Baruah from Lakhimpur in Guwahati, it has replaced old-timer Bijoya Charkavorty with Queen Ojha –– the erstwhile Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) party worker, who later moved to the BJP.

BJP has fielded Rajdeep Roy in Silchar against Congress’ Sushmita Dev. Congress has also fielded MGVK Bhanu, a former additional chief secretary of Assam who was considered close to the then chief minister Tarun Gogoi from the Tezpur seat. While sitting MP Gaurav Gogoi will fight from Koliabor, former Union minister and tea tribe leader Pawan Singh Ghatwar, who lost in 2014, will contest from Dibrugarh. Congress has fielded Swarup Das, a newcomer from Karminganj.

Tripura Seats
BJP has fielded Rebati Tripura from Tripura East seat. BJP’s vice-president, Subal Bhowmik, who had quit the party and joined the Congress has been fielded as the Congress’ candidate from West Tripura Lok Sabha seat. BJP’s general secretary, Pratima Bhowmik, will contest from this seat.

Manipur Seats
For the two seats in Manipur, the Congress has fielded O Nabakishore (Inner Manipur), a former chief secretary of the state and K James (Outer Manipur), a government employee turned entrepreneur. BJP has fielded party vice-president H Shukhopao from the Outer Manipur seat. Kuki National Organisation (KNO), a conglomerate of 17 militant groups and the Zomi Revolutionary Army had requested BJP president Amit Shah to give Lok Sabha ticket to Mate for Outer Manipur constituency. RK Ranjan, BJP’s spokeperson, is the candidate for Inner Manipur seat. Across Northeast India, BJP will be contesting in 18 seats.

Arunachal Pradesh
Congress has fielded former chief minister Nabam Tuki against BJP leader and Union Minister of state for Home Kiren Rijiju in Arunachal West Lok Sabha seat. Former minister James Lowangcha Wanglet will contest from the East Lok Sabha constituency. State unit BJP president Tapir Gao is contesting from East parliamentary constituency. When asked why five sitting MPs in Assam were denied tickets, BJP general secretary and party in-charge for Northeast India, Ram Madhav said on Sunday, “We have given tickets to new faces. Tickets are decided by the state and central leadership. The old leaders have assured that they will support these candidates and they will, in turn, be given important responsibility in theparty.”
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