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Cong facing stiff challenge

By Ron Duarah

DIBRUGARH, March 25 � A no-holds-barred poll battle is on at all the seven Assembly segments of the Dibrugarh district. The only limitation is the strict vigil by the Election Commission, curtailing a free flow of money and unlimited display of canvassing material. Even so, the candidates and their agents have evolved ingenious ways to remain in the public eye. In almost all the seven Assembly segments here, those in greater public reckoning are the BJP and Congress candidates.

However, the Trinamool Congress candidate for the Dibrugarh constituency, Shyamal Baruah claims to have made significant inroads in the past few days. And the voter here is witnessing the electoral battle here to evolve from a Congress � BJP straight fight to a Congress � BJP � Trinamool triangular event. There are quite a few reasons for this evolution.

First, Shyamal Baruah has made his vision public: to try to develop Assam�s second biggest city as a tourist destination, with better infrastructure. His two chief competitors, Prasanta Phukan of the BJP and Dr K K Gogoi of the Congress have no such vision statement. They just want to win and cling on to power. Second, Dr Gogoi has been MLA from here for two terms, from 1996 to 2006. Phukan is the sitting MLA since 2006. While Dr Gogoi contributed almost nothing for the development of the city, Phukan did not fare any better. But while Dr Gogoi as MLA was not very reachable, Phukan has this unique trait to reaching out to one and all.

There are eight candidates in the fray for Dibrugarh. Of the three mentioned above, the other five are Thaneswar Borah of the AGP, Padmeswar Phukan and Sima Ghosh, both Independents, Parvez Khan of the AIUDF and Avinash Singh of the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha.

In all the six other Assembly segments in the district, Lahowal, Chabua, Duliajan, Naharkatia, Tingkhong and Moran, the poll contest is equally keen. Sitting MLAs of the Congress, the AGP and the BJP are trying hard to retain their seats, and it is up to the voter to decide their fate.

In a eight cornered contest for Lahowal, former Assam Speaker and several times minister, Prithibi Majhi is facing his toughest ever poll battle, with Teros Gowala of the AGP and Ranjit Konwar of the BJP emerging as the chief contenders . Majhi has often been alleged to have been unable to handle his ministries, and this is the basis of the campaign in Lahowal. Almost half the number of this constituency�s voters are in the Dibrugarh localities of Milannagar, Nirmaligaon, Ratanpur , Boiragimoth, Banipur, Jiban Phukan Nagar and their surrounding areas. As such, the urban vote here can make or break a candidate.

Two important female lady politicians of the Congress, Pranati Phukan from Naharkatia and Jibontara Ghatowar from Moran are in a fight to the finish battle in their respective constituencies. In Naharkatia, Pranati Phukan faces a tough challenge from Pradip Buragohain of the BJP and Naren Sonowal of the AGP. It should be of no surprise if either Sonowal or Buragohain has the last laugh in Naharkatia this year, with Pranati Phukan facing a heavy onslaught of anti-incumbency. To add to her woes, the Naharkatia constituency this time has eight candidates in the fray, including veterans like Sashakamal Handique of the CPI(M).

If Pranati Phukan is facing a tough electoral battle, Ghatowar does not see much difficulty in the ballot battle in Moran. Her two chief contenders are Sunil Rajkonwar of the AGP and Swarna Saikia Deori of the BJP. Even so, if Rajkonwar gets a strong support in the Larua Mouza area, the balance could well tilt in his favour. Otherwise Jibontara Ghatowar is quite popular in the constituency, and moreover, she has nursed the constituency well, between 2006 and 2011. Sunil Rajkonwar is a political novice, but has been a firebrand leader of AASU, and in the past one year, has prepared himself well for this year�s elections.

In the district�s industrial area of Duliajan, Rameswar Teli of the BJP seems well on his way for a third term at Dispur. A very humble person, he has endeared himself well to the constituency. Believe it or not: he still lives in a bamboo hut. The Congress candidate here, Amiya Gogoi, has earlier represented Duliajan as MLA and was also a minister of state. She is an ordinary resident of Chabua, but is the most important challenger to Teli. Closely following her is another former AASU leader, Hiteswar Phukan, who is contesting on a AGP ticket. He is a �Duliajan local�. In Duliajan, there are a total of eight candidates: Rameswar Teli (BJP), Hiteswar Phukan (AGP), Amiya Gogoi (Congress), Rajen Gogoi (Shiv Sena), Pranab Borah (Independent), Nabajyoti Kalita (Trinamool), Pulak Gogoi (CPI) and Bina Konwar Baruah (NCP).

In Chabua too, sitting MLA Raju Sahu of the Congress faces almost no serious political challenge from any of the seven other candidates. His only concern are the vote gathering prowess of Binod Hazarika of the BJP and Bhaben Baruah of the AGP. Many are even forecasting that Binod Hazarika could well sail through, given his standing in the constituency.

At Tingkhong, sitting AGP MLA Anup Phukan is in the middle of a five cornered contest. The two who are going great guns in this rural constituency are Dipuranan Makrary of the BJP and Etowa Munda of the Congress. While Munda is battling it out to regain the seat (he lost to Phukan in 2006), Makrary is the new entrant and a powerful one at that. He belongs to the Sonowal Kachari community, which has a significant population there, and the icing on the cake being that Sarbananda Sonowal activating the needed triggers there.

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Cong facing stiff challenge

DIBRUGARH, March 25 � A no-holds-barred poll battle is on at all the seven Assembly segments of the Dibrugarh district. The only limitation is the strict vigil by the Election Commission, curtailing a free flow of money and unlimited display of canvassing material. Even so, the candidates and their agents have evolved ingenious ways to remain in the public eye. In almost all the seven Assembly segments here, those in greater public reckoning are the BJP and Congress candidates.

However, the Trinamool Congress candidate for the Dibrugarh constituency, Shyamal Baruah claims to have made significant inroads in the past few days. And the voter here is witnessing the electoral battle here to evolve from a Congress � BJP straight fight to a Congress � BJP � Trinamool triangular event. There are quite a few reasons for this evolution.

First, Shyamal Baruah has made his vision public: to try to develop Assam�s second biggest city as a tourist destination, with better infrastructure. His two chief competitors, Prasanta Phukan of the BJP and Dr K K Gogoi of the Congress have no such vision statement. They just want to win and cling on to power. Second, Dr Gogoi has been MLA from here for two terms, from 1996 to 2006. Phukan is the sitting MLA since 2006. While Dr Gogoi contributed almost nothing for the development of the city, Phukan did not fare any better. But while Dr Gogoi as MLA was not very reachable, Phukan has this unique trait to reaching out to one and all.

There are eight candidates in the fray for Dibrugarh. Of the three mentioned above, the other five are Thaneswar Borah of the AGP, Padmeswar Phukan and Sima Ghosh, both Independents, Parvez Khan of the AIUDF and Avinash Singh of the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha.

In all the six other Assembly segments in the district, Lahowal, Chabua, Duliajan, Naharkatia, Tingkhong and Moran, the poll contest is equally keen. Sitting MLAs of the Congress, the AGP and the BJP are trying hard to retain their seats, and it is up to the voter to decide their fate.

In a eight cornered contest for Lahowal, former Assam Speaker and several times minister, Prithibi Majhi is facing his toughest ever poll battle, with Teros Gowala of the AGP and Ranjit Konwar of the BJP emerging as the chief contenders . Majhi has often been alleged to have been unable to handle his ministries, and this is the basis of the campaign in Lahowal. Almost half the number of this constituency�s voters are in the Dibrugarh localities of Milannagar, Nirmaligaon, Ratanpur , Boiragimoth, Banipur, Jiban Phukan Nagar and their surrounding areas. As such, the urban vote here can make or break a candidate.

Two important female lady politicians of the Congress, Pranati Phukan from Naharkatia and Jibontara Ghatowar from Moran are in a fight to the finish battle in their respective constituencies. In Naharkatia, Pranati Phukan faces a tough challenge from Pradip Buragohain of the BJP and Naren Sonowal of the AGP. It should be of no surprise if either Sonowal or Buragohain has the last laugh in Naharkatia this year, with Pranati Phukan facing a heavy onslaught of anti-incumbency. To add to her woes, the Naharkatia constituency this time has eight candidates in the fray, including veterans like Sashakamal Handique of the CPI(M).

If Pranati Phukan is facing a tough electoral battle, Ghatowar does not see much difficulty in the ballot battle in Moran. Her two chief contenders are Sunil Rajkonwar of the AGP and Swarna Saikia Deori of the BJP. Even so, if Rajkonwar gets a strong support in the Larua Mouza area, the balance could well tilt in his favour. Otherwise Jibontara Ghatowar is quite popular in the constituency, and moreover, she has nursed the constituency well, between 2006 and 2011. Sunil Rajkonwar is a political novice, but has been a firebrand leader of AASU, and in the past one year, has prepared himself well for this year�s elections.

In the district�s industrial area of Duliajan, Rameswar Teli of the BJP seems well on his way for a third term at Dispur. A very humble person, he has endeared himself well to the constituency. Believe it or not: he still lives in a bamboo hut. The Congress candidate here, Amiya Gogoi, has earlier represented Duliajan as MLA and was also a minister of state. She is an ordinary resident of Chabua, but is the most important challenger to Teli. Closely following her is another former AASU leader, Hiteswar Phukan, who is contesting on a AGP ticket. He is a �Duliajan local�. In Duliajan, there are a total of eight candidates: Rameswar Teli (BJP), Hiteswar Phukan (AGP), Amiya Gogoi (Congress), Rajen Gogoi (Shiv Sena), Pranab Borah (Independent), Nabajyoti Kalita (Trinamool), Pulak Gogoi (CPI) and Bina Konwar Baruah (NCP).

In Chabua too, sitting MLA Raju Sahu of the Congress faces almost no serious political challenge from any of the seven other candidates. His only concern are the vote gathering prowess of Binod Hazarika of the BJP and Bhaben Baruah of the AGP. Many are even forecasting that Binod Hazarika could well sail through, given his standing in the constituency.

At Tingkhong, sitting AGP MLA Anup Phukan is in the middle of a five cornered contest. The two who are going great guns in this rural constituency are Dipuranan Makrary of the BJP and Etowa Munda of the Congress. While Munda is battling it out to regain the seat (he lost to Phukan in 2006), Makrary is the new entrant and a powerful one at that. He belongs to the Sonowal Kachari community, which has a significant population there, and the icing on the cake being that Sarbananda Sonowal activating the needed triggers there.