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Opp a divided house ahead of RS polls tomorrow

By The Assam Tribune

GUWAHATI, March 25 (IANS) � The ruling Congress party has kept the Opposition on the tenterhooks over Friday�s Rajya Sabha polls, with the Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) suspending a legislator who has vowed to vote against the party-backed candidate.

The AGP late Wednesday suspended Abdul Aziz on charges of anti-party activities after he made a public statement that he would not abide by the party whip and vote for the Congress candidate.

The two Rajya Sabha seats are now being held by the Congress.

The Congress fielded two candidates � Silvius Condpan is the second preference candidate while Nazneen Farooq is the first choice.

The AGP, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Asom United Democratic Front (AUDF) have together fielded one candidate � Jayanta Baruah, owner of the mass circulated Asomiya Pratidin newspaper.

While the first preference Congress candidate is sure to win, their second nominee would scrape through only if there is cross voting in the Opposition camp.

�I have no regrets over the suspension. I will vote for the Congress candidate as my party (AGP) leadership betrayed us by secretly deciding to nominate Jayanta Baruah as the common candidate,� Aziz told IANS.

The poll arithmetic is becoming murkier � the combined Opposition had the support of 51 legislators in the 126-member House.

But the equations have changed. Aziz apart, three independents and as many BJP legislators have announced their support for the Congress candidate, expressing displeasure over the decision to nominate Baruah.

The Opposition requires 43 votes to let their candidate win the polls. As of now, Baruah has the support of 44 legislators.

Congress leader and Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said: �We are sure to win both the seats. The first preference candidate�s victory is a foregone conclusion, but with cracks in the Opposition camp, we are almost sure of the victory of even our second preference candidate.�

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Opp a divided house ahead of RS polls tomorrow

GUWAHATI, March 25 (IANS) � The ruling Congress party has kept the Opposition on the tenterhooks over Friday�s Rajya Sabha polls, with the Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) suspending a legislator who has vowed to vote against the party-backed candidate.

The AGP late Wednesday suspended Abdul Aziz on charges of anti-party activities after he made a public statement that he would not abide by the party whip and vote for the Congress candidate.

The two Rajya Sabha seats are now being held by the Congress.

The Congress fielded two candidates � Silvius Condpan is the second preference candidate while Nazneen Farooq is the first choice.

The AGP, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Asom United Democratic Front (AUDF) have together fielded one candidate � Jayanta Baruah, owner of the mass circulated Asomiya Pratidin newspaper.

While the first preference Congress candidate is sure to win, their second nominee would scrape through only if there is cross voting in the Opposition camp.

�I have no regrets over the suspension. I will vote for the Congress candidate as my party (AGP) leadership betrayed us by secretly deciding to nominate Jayanta Baruah as the common candidate,� Aziz told IANS.

The poll arithmetic is becoming murkier � the combined Opposition had the support of 51 legislators in the 126-member House.

But the equations have changed. Aziz apart, three independents and as many BJP legislators have announced their support for the Congress candidate, expressing displeasure over the decision to nominate Baruah.

The Opposition requires 43 votes to let their candidate win the polls. As of now, Baruah has the support of 44 legislators.

Congress leader and Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said: �We are sure to win both the seats. The first preference candidate�s victory is a foregone conclusion, but with cracks in the Opposition camp, we are almost sure of the victory of even our second preference candidate.�