Manoj Kr Borthakur
SIVASAGAR, March 8: The Mahmora LAC in Charaideo electoral district happens to be the least developed of the 10 Assembly segments under the Jorhat parliamentary constituency.
The political leadership of the constituency, till a few years back, could hardly make any impact on the State politics, nor could it bring cheers to the agrarian population. Despite having a large number of prosperous tea estates, Oil India Ltd installations and numerous small tea growers, the economic scenario has not changed much during the last several decades.
Mahmora was in the news in the last decade for wrong reasons. It was then a safe den of ULFA insurgents, and later witnessed SULFA excesses, too.
The constituency has a legacy of strong Left party presence besides Congress in the tea belt. The Assam Movement brought a large chunk of members of these parties into the fold of the Asom Gana Parishad and now the BJP has built up an enviable base, sending Minister of State for Revenue, Lok Nirman and Disaster Management Jogen Mohan to the State Assembly in the 2016 elections from this constituency. Mohan defeated Suraj Dihingia of the Congress by a comfortable margin of 14,325 votes. Mohan got 49,036 votes and Dihingia 34,711.
Ratneswar Konwar of the Congress was the first MLA from the constituency, who defeated Buddha Barua of the Revolutionary Communist Party of India in 1967. Konwar got 8,240 votes as against Barua’s 7,423. In 1972, Khagen Gogoi of the Congress got 13,981 votes while Buddha Barua (Ind) got 7,268. In 1978, Buddha Barua of the RCPI with 7,574 votes defeated Paban Ghatowar of JNP, who got 7,236 votes. In 1983, Narad Kumar of the Congress won the seat with only 4,539 votes while Sonaram Kurmi (Ind) got 551.
During the AGP wave in 1985, Prof Chandra Arandhara with 25,284 votes defeated Narad Kumar of the Congress (12,778 votes). In 1991, Congress candidate Lakhi Pd Buragohain (24,891 votes) defeated Hiranya Konwar of the NAGP (6,846). In the 1996 elections, Hiranya Konwar of the AGP defeated Congress candidate Lakhi Pd Buragohain. Konwar got 24,234 votes as against 18,270 votes received by Buragohain. Sarat Saikia, son of former minister Durgeswar Saikia, won consecutively in 2001, 2006 and 2011, defeating Hiranya Konwar (AGP) every time. Saikia got 44,770, 38,776 and 40,607 votes in these three polls, while Konwar got 21,851; 36,353 and 24,783 votes, respectively.
The 2021 election will be far more competitive with the emergence of the ‘third front’ comprising the Raijor Dal-Assam Jatiya Parishad combine. The Akhil Gogoi-led Raijor Dal held its first political convention in Mahmora considering the large number of followers of the party in this area. The third front has fielded Lohit Gogoi, a trusted lieutenant of Akhil Gogoi, who, along with Vasco de Saikia, spearheaded the anti-CAA stir in the State in the absence of their leader.
But, it is uncertain whether the AJP workers in the constituency will support him or not. The disgruntled former AASU district president Manik Gogoi is reportedly contemplating contesting the elections as an independent candidate. Manik Gogoi, a central AASU executive member, is popular among the youths. The rift between the two may help both the ruling BJP and the Congress.