GUWAHATI, March 20 - State Congress president Ripun Bora and the Leader of Congress Legislature Party (CLP) Debabrata Saikia seem to have gained the upper hand in distribution of the party�s tickets from Assam so far for the forthcoming Lok Sabha polls.
Party sources said that former Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi, to a large extent, stayed away from active participation in the process of candidate selection, though the veteran leader was consulted by the party high command frequently.
Till now, Congress has announced its candidates for 10 of the 14 parliamentary constituencies of Assam.
�The views of Bora and Saikia have prevailed to a large extent so far. Tarun Gogoi did not interfere much in the process this time. But, he was kept informed of all decisions and his counsel was frequently sought by the central leadership of the party,� a senior Assam Pradesh Congress Committee (APCC) office-bearer told The Assam Tribune.
Sources added that though Gogoi was in favour of giving the party�s nomination to Gayatri Handique in the Jorhat seat and to Tanka Bahadur Rai or to some other leader from either the Gorkha or the Adivasi community in Tezpur, Bora pitched in hard to ensure that the candidature for Tezpur went to MGVK Bhanu, while Saikia was able to convince the election committee, with support of senior central leaders like Harish Rawat and Mukul Wasnik, to allot ticket to Sushanta Borgohain in Jorhat.
Gogoi�s reasoning was that giving candidature to a nominee from the Gorkha or the Adivasi communities will help in ensuring that the sizeable �vote bank� of these two groups will remain with the party in the near future, even if Congress loses the Tezpur seat in the ensuing polls, sources said.
�The former Chief Minister has admitted publicly that he did not want Bhanu and Borgohain as candidates. But, being a loyal soldier of the party, he will now give full support to both of them,� said the APCC office-bearer.
He added that Paban Singh Ghatowar�s candidature for the Dibrugarh constituency clearly demonstrates the party�s determination to regain the support of the tea community, which has eroded significantly since 2014.
�The Assam Chah Mazdoor Sangha (ACMS) remains a powerhouse and Ghatowar runs the show in the organisation. So, despite a lot of speculations to the contrary, the ticket for Dibrugarh finally went to Ghatowar. ACMS�s support will be useful for our party not only in Dibrugarh but also in other constituencies like Jorhat, Tezpur, Kaliabor, Kokrajhar, Lakhimpur, Silchar and Karimganj,� said the leader.
Sources added that the central leadership of Congress played a key role in �convincing� Pradyut Bordoloi to contest from Nagaon and Bhubaneswar Kalita from Mangaldai.
They, however, admitted that allocation of ticket to Anil Borgohain from Lakhimpur may affect the party�s prospects to some extent among voters belonging to the Mising, Sonowal Kachari and other tribal communities in the constituency.
�Besides, as many as three of the 10 candidates declared by us so far belong to the Ahom community and it could lead to some problems,� said a party leader.
Meanwhile, the list of Congress candidates for the remaining four constituencies of Assam is expected any day now.
Abdul Khaleque and Abdur Rahim Khan are the frontrunners for party nomination in Barpeta, while Sabda Ram Rabha and Durga Das Boro are the main contenders from Kokrajhar. For the Dhubri seat, at least four to five names are doing the rounds, including Abu Taher Bepari, Gul Akhtara Begum, Abdul Hamid, Wazed Ali Choudhury and Ghalib Islam, while for Guwahati the names of Bolin Bordoloi and Kirip Chaliha are in the reckoning, sources added.