GUWAHATI, March 30 - The Guwahati Lok Sabha seat, which has the highest number of voters among all the 14 constituencies of Assam, has witnessed some interesting electoral battles over the decades.
Unlike some other constituencies of the State where one or another party has been able to dominate the scene for decades, the Guwahati Lok Sabha seat has witnessed frequent change of hands between various political parties since the time of the first General Elections.
No political party has been able to win from the Guwahati LS constituency for more than two consecutive terms.
In the elections to the first Lok Sabha held in 1951-52, a total of three candidates were in the fray for the Guwahati seat. Rohini Kumar Chaudhury of the Indian National Congress (INC) won by securing 96,122 votes. He defeated his nearest Socialist Party (SP) rival Lakshyadhar Chaudhury by a margin of 23,569 votes. The SP candidate got 72,553 votes.
Only two candidates were in the fray from the constituency in the General Elections to the second Lok Sabha held in 1957. Praja Socialist Party (PSP) veteran Hem Barua (1,43,497 votes) defeated Devendra Nath Sarma (96,624) of the INC. The margin of victory was 46,873 votes.
In the LS elections of 1962, a total of three candidates contested from the Guwahati seat. PSP�s Barua (1,33,812 votes) got re-elected by defeating INC candidate Tirtha Nath Sarmah (1,01,750 votes). The margin between the winner and the runner-up candidates was 32,062 votes.
The contest between the two leading candidates in Guwahati constituency was very close in the 1967 parliamentary polls. That year, when the INC suffered its first major reverses nationally since Independence, Dhireswar Kalita of the Communist Party of India (CPI) defeated INC�s Renuka Devi Barkataki by a margin of only 1,550 votes. In a field of six candidates, Kalita secured 90,208 votes as against 88,658 secured by Barkataki.
After the close contest of 1967, the battle turned out to be one-sided in 1971 when Dinesh Chandra Goswami (1,40,483 votes) of INC defeated CPI�s Kalita (44,482 votes) by a margin of 96,001 votes. There were altogether six candidates in the fray from the Guwahati seat in the 1971 General Elections to the fifth Lok Sabha.
The historic 1977 polls, after the Emergency, saw Renuka Devi Barkataki contesting as a Janata Party candidate (on the symbol of the Bharatiya Lok Dal). She received 1,49,255 votes and her nearest rival Dinesh Chandra Goswami of INC got 1,12,815 votes, with the margin of victory being 36,440 votes. A total of three candidates were in the fray from the Guwahati seat in the 1977 Lok Sabha elections.
The 7th Lok Sabha polls of 1980 were not held in the Brahmaputra Valley seats, including the Guwahati constituency.
Voting for the parliamentary seats in Assam and Punjab for the 8th Lok Sabha took place only in 1985. However, in rest of the country the polls took place in 1984.
In 1985, Dinesh Goswami of the AGP (recognised by the Election Commission as an �Independent� candidate like all the AGP nominees) won from Guwahati by a margin of 3,03,506 votes against his nearest rival Bhagaban Lahkar of the INC.
Among the eight candidates of the constituency, Goswami emerged winner by securing 4,28,013 votes against 1,24,507 votes polled by Lahkar.
Elections to the Lok Sabha constituencies of Assam were not held along with the rest of the country in 1989.
In the 10th Lok Sabha polls held in 1991, the number of contestants from Guwahati rose to 18. INC�s Kirip Chaliha (1,69,628 votes) was the winner and Natun Asom Gana Parishad�s (NAGP) Asfaf Ali (1,24,823) was the runner-up, with the margin between the two leading candidates being 44,805 votes.
In 1996, AGP�s Prabin Chandra Sarmah (3,72,833 votes) defeated INC�s Bhubaneswar Kalita (2,58,436 votes) by a margin of 1,14,397 votes. A total of 13 candidates were in the fray from the constituency in the 1996 parliamentary polls.
In the General Elections held to the 12th Lok Sabha in 1998, there were seven contestants for the Guwahati seat. INC�s Bhubaneswar Kalita defeated Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) nominee Manoranjan Goswami by a margin of 1,28,173. Kalita secured 2,85,482 votes and Goswami received 1,57,309.
However, in the Lok Sabha elections of 1999, the margin between the winner and runner-up in the Guwahati seat came down to 75,238 votes. BJP�s Bijoya Chakravarty (3,84,771 votes) defeated INC�s Kalita (3,09,533 votes). There were 10 candidates from the constituency in 1999.
In the elections to the 14th Lok Sabha in 2004, Kirip Chaliha (3,53,250 votes) of the INC was the winner. He defeated his nearest rival, BJP candidate Dr Bhupen Hazarika (2,92,099 votes) by a margin of over 61,151 votes. There were 12 candidates fighting for the seat.
The contest in the Guwahati constituency was very close in the 2009 elections. There were 12 candidates in the race. Bijoya Chakravarty of BJP defeated Capt Robin Bordoloi of INC by a margin of only 11,855 votes. While the BJP nominee secured 4,96,047 votes, the INC candidate received 4,84,192 votes.
In the General Elections to the 16th Lok Sabha held in 2014, as many as 18 candidates contested from the Guwahati seat. BJP�s Bijoya Chakravarty (7,64,985 votes) defeated her nearest INC rival Manash Borah (4,49,201 votes) by a margin of 3,15,784 votes.