GUWAHATI, March 1: Farmer leader Akhil Gogoi-led newly formed regional political outfit Raijor Dal is likely to field 40-45 candidates, including Assamese actress Zerifa Wahid, in the ensuing Assam Legislative Assembly election.
Zerifa is likely to contest from Bhabanipur constituency which was won by the All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF) in the last election. She will be the only celebrity face for the party in the election, party sources said.
On being contacted, Zerifa said, “At present, I am campaigning for the party across the state. Regarding my candidature, the party’s decision will be final.”
Party members said that although Zerifa is an “outsider”, she was highly popular in recent campaigns she had spearheaded for the party at Bhabanipur.
According to party sources, Raijor Dal is likely to field 10-12 candidates in lower Assam, including Ashraful Islam in Jania, Hussain Mahammad Sahjahan in Chenga, Kamal Kumar Medhi in Sarukhetri, Rassel Hussain in Barkhetri, among others.
Working president Bhasco De Saikia may throw his hat in the ring from Sarupathar, while Bidyut Jyoti Saikia has expressed keenness to fight from Golaghat. Akhil Gogoi’s candidature from Sivasagar is almost final. In another development, Divas Phukan’s name is doing the rounds in East Gauhati.
Meanwhile, party insiders admitted that joining of the BPF in the ‘grand alliance’ of the Congress and the AIUDF will impact the election, especially in the BTR and in Bodo-dominated areas outside the region where the BPF will play a major role. The BPF may perform better compared to the UPPL, Raijor Dal sources said.
“Preliminary discussions with the BPF were very positive. But eventually, the party joined hands with the Congress and the AIUDF, because those parties have more money power than the AJP and Raijor Dal. It is a big loss for us as we are yet to strengthen our base in the BTR. On the other hand, we are optimistic that we can garner support in the minority belts of lower Assam, which were earlier vote banks of the AIUDF and the Congress,” a senior leader of Raijor Dal said.
Party insiders admitted that Akhil Gogoi’s detention has hampered strengthening of the party at its nascent stages. “Although the elections are very near, we are yet to develop a strong organizational base. However, we all are working in the grassroots level and have been receiving overwhelming response from common voters,” a party insider said.
On seat-sharing, party insiders said their poll strategy will mainly focus on defeating the ruling BJP.