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BJP springs no surprise in Assam

By Ron Duarah

DIBRUGARH, March 8 � With Sarbananda Sonowal deserting Dibrugarh in favour of the Lakhimpur Lok Sabha seat in the ensuing general elections, the party is literally twiddling its thumbs in search of a candidate for the Dibrugarh Lok Sabha seat. And with the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) making significant electoral gains, the BJP has massively re-strategized its 2014 ponderance.

Though there are several BJP cadres wanting to contest from Dibrugarh, including the Dibrugarh MLA Prasanta Phukan, it is gathered that his chances of being given the ticket is thin, given his comedian - like image and allegations of corruption and nepotism on him, though yet unsubstantiated. In fact, within the city here, people seem to be fed up with Phukan and his antics, and his re-election even as an MLA � forget the bigger picture of an MP � from here seems very bleak, as of now.

Then there is the youth leader Kamakhya Tasa. He is quite well known in the Dibrugarh Lok Sabha constituency, as he has contested from here earlier. However, party insiders say Tasa is keen to contest from Jorhat this time. It is likely his wish would be granted.

Given such a scenario, one learns that the BJP, which is hoping to form the next Union government, wants to have as many MPs as possible. And given the AAP upsurge, selection of proper candidates was a necessity for the BJP, till recently. However, it is being noticed that the BJP, in its rush to prevail over North and South Blocks, seems to be erring on candidate selection. There was an urgent need for a fresh batch of politicians to be given their tickets, but those favoured are the old war horses, several of whom have outlived their prime. The BJP is, at least in Assam, seen emulating the Congress in giving tickets to the non performers and the expendable.

The party has not been able to prop up any new face in Assam. All those who have been appearing are the veteran losers and some who have lost contact with their constituencies and the voters at large. That Sarbananda Sonowal is keen to see the end of the AGP in Assam is understandable, but his lodge-style business of doing so has failed to enthuse many.

Even more queer is the fact that Sonowal wants to give Paban Singh Ghatowar an easy ride from the Dibrugarh Lok Sabha seat this year. While cosy personal equations cannot be wished away, the voter here may be forced to the NOTA button on April 7, as there seems to be little hope of a proper choice for the beleaguered residents of the Dibrugarh and Tinsukia districts in the run-up to the formation of the new Lok Sabha.

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