Polling in Assam is scheduled on April 24

A number of political heavyweights have entered the fray for third phase of polling in Assam scheduled on April 24. Of the six seats where election is scheduled in the third phase, the BJP had won three seats — Gauhati, Nowgong and Mangaldoi; the Congress bagged Barpeta; its ally Bodoland People’s Front (BPF) won Kokrajhar, and the All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF) saw victory in Dhubri in 2009.

The heavyweights include AIUDF chief Badruddin Ajmal; senior BPF leader and Transport Minister Chandan Brahma; Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) working president Phanibhusan Choudhury; sitting MP from Gauhati constituency and BJP national vice-president Bijoya Chakrabarty; senior Bodo politician and former Rajya Sabha MP Urkhao Gwra Brahma; and senior BJP leader and former AGP chief Chandra Mohan Patowary.

Accompanied by large number of party workers and supporters, Mr. Chandan Brahma filed his nomination papers for Kokrajhar seat on Friday. The BPF denied party’s sitting MP Sansuma Khuggur Bwiswmuthiary ticket this time. He filed his papers as an independent.

Five other candidates have also filed their nominations for this constituency including former Rajya Sabha MP and senior Bodo leader Urkhao Gwra Brahma, backed by five Bodo groups; former “commander” of insurgent United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA) Naba Sarania, backed 21 groups; former Meghalaya Governor Ranjit Shekhar Mooshahary for the Trinamool Congress; Salkhan Murmu for the Jharkhand Disom Party and Sabda Ram Rabha. The Congress, the BJP, the AIUDF and the AGP have decided not field any candidate for this seat.

Gauhati constituency also witnessed show of strength by candidates during submission of nominations. Ms Chakrabarty exuded confidence of retaining the seat where AGP heavyweight and ex-MP Birendra Prasad Baishya is also contesting. In 2009, she had won the seat as a combined candidate of AGP and BJP wresting it from the Congress. However, this time the two parties have not reached any pre-poll tie up. The Congress has fielded Social Welfare Minister Akon Bora’s son Manas Bora, who was chosen as a candidate after he won the Gauhati primary.

The day also witnessed two more political heavyweights — senior AGP leader Phanibhushan Choudhury and senior BJP leader Chandra Mohan Patowary — filing papers for Barpeta seat along with huge supporters. Mr Patowary, a former Minister, recently quit the regional party and joined the BJP. Other candidates for the seat include leader of AIUDF Legislature Party Sirajuddin Ajmal, state CPI(M) secretary Uddhab Barman, who won the seat twice earlier, and sitting Congress MP Ismile Hussain.