Former CM Prafulla Kumar Mahanta not to contest Assam Assembly election

Former Assam Chief Minister Prafulla Kumar Mahanta will not contest the upcoming Assam Assembly elections, his wife and former MP Jayashree Goswami Mahanta said late on Monday.

The Asom Gana Parishad (AGP), of which Mr. Mahanta was the founder-president in 1985, had denied ticket to him and three other MLAs – Utpal Dutta from the Lakhimpur constituency, Naren Sonowal from Naharkatia and Satyabrata Kalita from Kamalpur.

The two-time former Chief Minister has been representing the Barhampur constituency in central Assam’s Nagaon district since 1991. His pet seat went to AGP’s ally BJP following a seat-sharing agreement in New Delhi on March 5.

The BJP has fielded Jitu Goswami, a loyalist of Finance Minister and the party’s chief poll strategist Himanta Biswa Sarma.

Mr. Mahanta, 68, had been undergoing treatment since November 2020. He returned from All India Institute of Medical Sciences in New Delhi less than a week ago.

“He has decided not to take part in electoral politics but will continue to work for the cause of regionalism in Assam,” Ms. Mahanta said.

“More than the seat, it is the planned slaughter of regionalism that has hurt him the most. The way the AGP leadership has sold off the regional sentiment to a national political party shows the true colour of change they want to bring in Assam,” she said.

A few AGP dissidents who had revived the AGP-Pragatisheel had hoped Mr. Mahanta would join them to contest the Barhampur seat as well as help put up candidates elsewhere. There was also speculation about him joining the Congress-led Mahajot, or grand alliance.

Mr. Mahanta formed the breakaway AGP(P) in 2005, barely two months after the AGP expelled him for anti-party activities. The faction later merged in 2008.

Ironically, Mr. Mahanta had helped the BJP gain a toehold in Assam three decades ago. However, he fell out with the party after organising protests against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act.

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Printable version | Apr 11, 2021 1:04:03 AM |

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