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BJP drops 5 sitting MPs, to field new faces

By KALYAN BAROOAH
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NEW DELHI, March 17 - Rattled by the opposition it faced in Assam over the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016, the BJP has decided to tread cautiously in the ensuing Lok Sabha elections replacing five sitting MPs in the State with new faces.

A day after the party parliamentary board meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and attended by Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh, BJP national president Amit Shah and Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal, among others, the BJP, however, could not release its list of candidates for Assam due to some last minute complications.

According to party sources, the BJP parliamentary board has decided to drop five sitting MPs � Ramen Deka (Mangaldai), Rajen Gohain (Nagaon), Kamakhya Prasad Tasa (Jorhat), Bijoya Chakravarty (Guwahati) and RP Sharma (Tezpur). Interestingly, four of the five MPs are BJP veterans and long serving party members.

The party central leadership has now decided to seek fresh names from the State leadership for Tezpur, Nagaon, Silchar and Karimganj parliamentary constituencies.

When contacted, Ramen Deka disclosed that he had come to know that he has not been renominated, but added that he has not received any calls from the party in this regard.

So far, two sitting MPs � Rameswar Teli (Dibrugarh) and Pradan Baruah (Lakhimpur) have been retained and hunt is on to finalise candidates for Silchar and Karimganj seats, sources said.

The BJP has already announced its decision to give Barpeta, Dhubri and Kaliabor seats to the AGP and Kokrajhar seat to the BPF.

A meeting was convened at Sonowal�s official residence here on Sunday where State party president Ranjeet Kumar Dass, State minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, national general secretaries Mahendra Singh and Ajay Jamwal and other party leaders were present to work out a fresh panel of names in some constituencies, sources said.

According to sources, State minister Himanta Biswa Sarma formally informed the party leaders at the meeting that he would not be able to contest from the Tezpur seat as he has to concentrate on other northeastern states.

It has been learnt that names of Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal�s confidant Dilip Saikia for Mangaldai seat, Rajen Borthakur and Ritubaran Sharma for Tezpur seat, Topon Gogoi for Jorhat seat and Queen Ojah for Guwahati seats have been shortlisted. For the Nagaon seat, party leadership has reportedly rejected Union Minister of State Rajen Gohain�s plea to nominate his wife in his place.

BJP State president Ranjeet Kumar Dass, who interacted with the media, said the first list of candidates may be released tomorrow. However, he declined to divulge what transpired at the meeting in the Assam Chief Minister�s residence.

Meanwhile, Tezpur MP RP Sharma, who resigned from primary membership of the BJP in a huff over denial of ticket on Sunday, mellowed down and hinted at the possibility of reconsidering his decision.

�Many people are asking me whether I would join any other party, if BJP denies ticket to me. My simple reply is � I will never join any other party whatever be the offer. I am a swayam sevak of the RSS since 1976 and RSS is in my blood and breath, so I cannot follow any other ideology or philosophy except that of the RSS in my life till my death,� Sharma told newsmen.

�I will start my law practice afresh with full force and continue to serve the people of Assam and particularly of my constituency, Tezpur, with all vigour. It is my final decision,� he said.

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BJP drops 5 sitting MPs, to field new faces

NEW DELHI, March 17 - Rattled by the opposition it faced in Assam over the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016, the BJP has decided to tread cautiously in the ensuing Lok Sabha elections replacing five sitting MPs in the State with new faces.

A day after the party parliamentary board meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and attended by Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh, BJP national president Amit Shah and Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal, among others, the BJP, however, could not release its list of candidates for Assam due to some last minute complications.

According to party sources, the BJP parliamentary board has decided to drop five sitting MPs � Ramen Deka (Mangaldai), Rajen Gohain (Nagaon), Kamakhya Prasad Tasa (Jorhat), Bijoya Chakravarty (Guwahati) and RP Sharma (Tezpur). Interestingly, four of the five MPs are BJP veterans and long serving party members.

The party central leadership has now decided to seek fresh names from the State leadership for Tezpur, Nagaon, Silchar and Karimganj parliamentary constituencies.

When contacted, Ramen Deka disclosed that he had come to know that he has not been renominated, but added that he has not received any calls from the party in this regard.

So far, two sitting MPs � Rameswar Teli (Dibrugarh) and Pradan Baruah (Lakhimpur) have been retained and hunt is on to finalise candidates for Silchar and Karimganj seats, sources said.

The BJP has already announced its decision to give Barpeta, Dhubri and Kaliabor seats to the AGP and Kokrajhar seat to the BPF.

A meeting was convened at Sonowal�s official residence here on Sunday where State party president Ranjeet Kumar Dass, State minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, national general secretaries Mahendra Singh and Ajay Jamwal and other party leaders were present to work out a fresh panel of names in some constituencies, sources said.

According to sources, State minister Himanta Biswa Sarma formally informed the party leaders at the meeting that he would not be able to contest from the Tezpur seat as he has to concentrate on other northeastern states.

It has been learnt that names of Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal�s confidant Dilip Saikia for Mangaldai seat, Rajen Borthakur and Ritubaran Sharma for Tezpur seat, Topon Gogoi for Jorhat seat and Queen Ojah for Guwahati seats have been shortlisted. For the Nagaon seat, party leadership has reportedly rejected Union Minister of State Rajen Gohain�s plea to nominate his wife in his place.

BJP State president Ranjeet Kumar Dass, who interacted with the media, said the first list of candidates may be released tomorrow. However, he declined to divulge what transpired at the meeting in the Assam Chief Minister�s residence.

Meanwhile, Tezpur MP RP Sharma, who resigned from primary membership of the BJP in a huff over denial of ticket on Sunday, mellowed down and hinted at the possibility of reconsidering his decision.

�Many people are asking me whether I would join any other party, if BJP denies ticket to me. My simple reply is � I will never join any other party whatever be the offer. I am a swayam sevak of the RSS since 1976 and RSS is in my blood and breath, so I cannot follow any other ideology or philosophy except that of the RSS in my life till my death,� Sharma told newsmen.

�I will start my law practice afresh with full force and continue to serve the people of Assam and particularly of my constituency, Tezpur, with all vigour. It is my final decision,� he said.