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Old warhorse out, BJP not confident in its Assam citadel

5 BJP-Agencies
The BJP has been winning this seat despite the fact that minority voters are decisive in five of its nine assembly segments.
Guwahati: The Nagaon Lok Sabha seat is seen as a BJP citadel, but a direct fight with the Congress has made the equation a little tricky this time in this Central Assam constituency where about 38% of the voters are from religious minorities.

The BJP has fielded sitting MLA Rupak Sharma, replacing Rajen Gohain, the union minister of state for railways who has represented Nagaon since 1999. Former Assam minister Pradyut Bordoloi is the Congress candidate.

Gohain, the sitting MP, had in the run up to polls declared that he would not contest till he was cleared by the court in a rape and molestation case. The Guwahati High court quashed criminal proceedings against him a day before the deadline to file nominations, but the party still chose Sharma, its MLA from Nagaon Sadar, to be the nominee for the seat. While Gohain was initially upset over the decision, he has since joined the campaign.

The electoral battle for Nagaon has become interesting after the All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF) decided not to contest the seat. This should benefit the Congress as the AIUDF would have cornered much of the minority votes, said a political analyst. There are 17,74,467 voters in the constituency.

The BJP has been winning this seat despite the fact that minority voters are decisive in five of its nine assembly segments.

In the 2011 assembly polls, the Congress had won six of these assembly seats, with the AIUDF getting two and the remaining one going to the Asom Gana Parishad. In 2016, the BJP won five assembly segments and its allies got two. The Congress and AIUDF won one each.
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