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Cong takes initial lead in campaign

By Ron Duarah

TINSUKIA, March 24 � Even as the election campaign picks up in this Congress-dominated district, the ruling party has been able to assert its initial predominance in the area, with favourable reports coming in for the party from each of the five Legislative Assembly Constituencies here.

However, it is a different story at Sadiya, where AGP candidate and former Assam minister Jagadish Bhuyan appears to have caught the fancy of the electorate there. The Congress candidate for Sadiya, Bolin Chetia, is contesting for a second straight run from the constituency. Chetia has been contesting from Sadiya since 2001. After having lost in his initial contest, also to Bhuyan, he won in 2006. In these five years, he has not been able to meet the aspirations of the electorate and is alleged to have devoted most of his time in securing sundry businesses for himself and his cronies.

In the straight and bitter contest for Margherita, the BJP�s young star Kamakhya Prasad Tasa is pitted against Congress heavyweight Pradyut Bordoloi. Tasa is of the opinion that the BJP has a strong presence in the constituency and that the anti-incumbency factor against Bordoloi will work to his advantage. But local voters in Margherita have nothing much to complain against Bordoloi, as he has nursed the place well in the last five years, with electrification and road building projects and a 100-bed civil hospital in Margherita town. Tasa says the electrification works that Bordoloi initiated in the vast Margherita constituency have not benefited many, but this is a matter of judgment.

Digboi�s grand old man, Rameswar Dhanowar is again contesting on the Congress ticket for the eighth consecutive term. In case he wins this time, it would be an electoral record in the State for a single man to win from the same party from the same constituency so many times. Dhanowar has been representing Digboi continuously since 1978. This time his electoral opponents are Bhulen Baruah of the AGP and Suren Phukan of the BJP. The Trinamool Congress too has a contestant in the constituency, Alok Roy, but he is yet to receive any significant voter response.

With Durga Bhumij quitting the Congress at the eleventh hour on not getting the party ticket, the party is likely to suffer quite a setback. The Congress candidate for Doomdooma this time is Rupesh Gowala and the other contestants include Bhumij as an Independent, Manoj Manki from the AGP and Dilip Moran from the BJP among the seven in the fray. Bhumij reportedly has too many complaints against him, leading the Congress to deny him a ticket. His popularity can be gauged once his number of votes is counted. Despite the seven in the fray, the local assessment in Doomdooma is that this time there will be a straight contest between the BJP and the Congress. Both the parties� candidates are young and energetic persons, and the voter there has a fair plate of options.

In the whole of Tinsukia district, a major and colourful contest is happening in Tinsukia town, where the sitting Congress MLA, Rajendra Prasad Singh, is facing a stiff electoral challenge from Sanjay Kisan of the BJP and Rajen Baruah of the Trinamool Congress. Baruah has been a Congressman till about a fortnight ago. He crossed over to the Trinamool on getting a hint that he may not get the Congress ticket. He earlier contested from Sadiya in 1996 on a Congress ticket, when he lost to Jagadish Bhuyan of the AGP. Before that, he was a government officer and went on to become a Block Development Officer. After resigning his government job, he joined the Congress in 1996. Later, he was appointed chairman of the Tinsukia Development Authority.

Sanjay Kisan, the BJP candidate for Tinsukia, has earlier been an influential leader of the Assam Tea Tribes� Students� Association. The others in the fray for Tinsukia are Manoranjan Sharma of the AGP, Ram Narayan Singh of the Shiv Sena, and Ananta Hazarika of AIUDF. But locals here see a primarily three-cornered contest among the Congress, the Trinamool Congress and BJP.

With the Mattak community forming a major segment of the population in the district, the Asom Mattak Yuba Federation (AMYF) has urged the voters of the district to come out in full strength and vote, even if the weather on vote casting day is inclement. The AMYF chief adviser Dr Bijoy Bora said the Mattak people are usually indifferent towards elections, and has called for a change in this attitude. The association�s general secretary Pronab Baruah said though the Mattaks are an original social group of the State, the community has been deprived of several aspects, especially recognition as a scheduled tribe. �It is time for us to assert ourselves. Whoever is committed to our cause will get our support,� he said. That about explains the aspirations of the people here, including the other major ethnic group, the Moran community.

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Cong takes initial lead in campaign

TINSUKIA, March 24 � Even as the election campaign picks up in this Congress-dominated district, the ruling party has been able to assert its initial predominance in the area, with favourable reports coming in for the party from each of the five Legislative Assembly Constituencies here.

However, it is a different story at Sadiya, where AGP candidate and former Assam minister Jagadish Bhuyan appears to have caught the fancy of the electorate there. The Congress candidate for Sadiya, Bolin Chetia, is contesting for a second straight run from the constituency. Chetia has been contesting from Sadiya since 2001. After having lost in his initial contest, also to Bhuyan, he won in 2006. In these five years, he has not been able to meet the aspirations of the electorate and is alleged to have devoted most of his time in securing sundry businesses for himself and his cronies.

In the straight and bitter contest for Margherita, the BJP�s young star Kamakhya Prasad Tasa is pitted against Congress heavyweight Pradyut Bordoloi. Tasa is of the opinion that the BJP has a strong presence in the constituency and that the anti-incumbency factor against Bordoloi will work to his advantage. But local voters in Margherita have nothing much to complain against Bordoloi, as he has nursed the place well in the last five years, with electrification and road building projects and a 100-bed civil hospital in Margherita town. Tasa says the electrification works that Bordoloi initiated in the vast Margherita constituency have not benefited many, but this is a matter of judgment.

Digboi�s grand old man, Rameswar Dhanowar is again contesting on the Congress ticket for the eighth consecutive term. In case he wins this time, it would be an electoral record in the State for a single man to win from the same party from the same constituency so many times. Dhanowar has been representing Digboi continuously since 1978. This time his electoral opponents are Bhulen Baruah of the AGP and Suren Phukan of the BJP. The Trinamool Congress too has a contestant in the constituency, Alok Roy, but he is yet to receive any significant voter response.

With Durga Bhumij quitting the Congress at the eleventh hour on not getting the party ticket, the party is likely to suffer quite a setback. The Congress candidate for Doomdooma this time is Rupesh Gowala and the other contestants include Bhumij as an Independent, Manoj Manki from the AGP and Dilip Moran from the BJP among the seven in the fray. Bhumij reportedly has too many complaints against him, leading the Congress to deny him a ticket. His popularity can be gauged once his number of votes is counted. Despite the seven in the fray, the local assessment in Doomdooma is that this time there will be a straight contest between the BJP and the Congress. Both the parties� candidates are young and energetic persons, and the voter there has a fair plate of options.

In the whole of Tinsukia district, a major and colourful contest is happening in Tinsukia town, where the sitting Congress MLA, Rajendra Prasad Singh, is facing a stiff electoral challenge from Sanjay Kisan of the BJP and Rajen Baruah of the Trinamool Congress. Baruah has been a Congressman till about a fortnight ago. He crossed over to the Trinamool on getting a hint that he may not get the Congress ticket. He earlier contested from Sadiya in 1996 on a Congress ticket, when he lost to Jagadish Bhuyan of the AGP. Before that, he was a government officer and went on to become a Block Development Officer. After resigning his government job, he joined the Congress in 1996. Later, he was appointed chairman of the Tinsukia Development Authority.

Sanjay Kisan, the BJP candidate for Tinsukia, has earlier been an influential leader of the Assam Tea Tribes� Students� Association. The others in the fray for Tinsukia are Manoranjan Sharma of the AGP, Ram Narayan Singh of the Shiv Sena, and Ananta Hazarika of AIUDF. But locals here see a primarily three-cornered contest among the Congress, the Trinamool Congress and BJP.

With the Mattak community forming a major segment of the population in the district, the Asom Mattak Yuba Federation (AMYF) has urged the voters of the district to come out in full strength and vote, even if the weather on vote casting day is inclement. The AMYF chief adviser Dr Bijoy Bora said the Mattak people are usually indifferent towards elections, and has called for a change in this attitude. The association�s general secretary Pronab Baruah said though the Mattaks are an original social group of the State, the community has been deprived of several aspects, especially recognition as a scheduled tribe. �It is time for us to assert ourselves. Whoever is committed to our cause will get our support,� he said. That about explains the aspirations of the people here, including the other major ethnic group, the Moran community.