NEW DELHI, March 9 � State Forest Minister Rockybul Hussain is likely to pull out of the Lok Sabha election race as he has opted not to contest from Dhubri Lok Sabha seat.
Confirming this, Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi told this newspaper that since Rockybul Hussain has opted not to contest, the party can�t possibly force him to do so. �We have conveyed this to the High Command and an alternative candidate would be selected shortly,� he said.
�How can we force him if he is not interested,� he said.
The Chief Minister also revealed that Jun Junali Baruah will be the Congress candidate for the Nagaon Lok Sabha seat.
The State Minister, who is in the capital, has been meeting top AICC leaders explaining his position.
About the Mangaldai seat, Gogoi said that it did not figure in the discussions at the central election committee (CEC) meeting. The AICC would decide, said the Chief Minister, who is returning back tomorrow.
Former Lok Sabha MP Kirip Chaliha, seen as a nominee of the Himanta Biswa Sarma faction, Pranjit Choudhury and Pradyut Bhuyan are in the race for the seat.
Meanwhile, the Chief Minister also ruled out the possibility of approaching the Election Commission for a change of date in view of the Bihu festival. A suggestion had come from a section of partymen that the Congress party should move the EC for a change of dates. At least two phases clash with the festival.
�I don�t want to make any such move. Let the elections be held as per schedules announced by the EC. I don�t want any change,� he asserted.
When asked whether the AIUDF had approached the Congress for an alliance, the Chief Minister said he had not been contacted. �But I have learnt that the AIUDF had approached some people in our party with a proposal asking for three Lok Sabha seats and one Rajya Sabha seat,� he said.
The matter has not reached me. Therefore, I can�t comment,� he said.
But the Chief Minister charged that AIUDF chief Badruddin Ajmal has been helping the BJP indirectly by fielding candidates against the Congress in the minority belts. �I want to ask him what he is up to. Is it not like having a tacit understanding with the BJP to humble the Congress party,� he asked.
� Badruddin or no Badruddin, we will better our past results,� an agitated Chief Minister said.