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Phase 3: Battle of alliances in Sarbhog, Barpeta

By The Assam Tribune


BARPETA, April 4: With the third phase of the Assembly election approaching fast, political parties and candidates are busy campaigning in all the six Assembly segments of Barpeta district.

Sarbhog, represented by the State BJP president Ranjeet Kumar Dass, is being considered as one of the prestigious constituencies for the ruling party. Due to reasons best known to the BJP top brass, Dass has been shifted to Patacharkuchi as a party candidate, while Sankar Das, president of the Barpeta district unit of the BJP, has been nominated to contest from Sarbhog.

The alliance led by the Congress, comprising the AIUDF and the CPI(M), has nominated Manoranjan Talukdar, a CPI(M) leader from Sarbhog. Once regarded as a stronghold of the Left party, Sarbhog has elected CPM nominees several times before Ranjit Kumar Dass emerged triumphant in 2011.

After Dass’ shifting from Sarbhog, the opposition parties have jumped into the fray to wrest the seat from the BJP. Leaders like Hemen Das, Uddhab Barman, APCC president Ripun Bora, and BPF supremo Hagrama Mohilary have left no stone unturned to capture the Sarbhog constituency for the grand alliance. They even invited Kanhaiya Kumar to address rallies in Sarbhog, but the latter did not turn up. On the other hand, the ruling coalition is in no mood to give the seat away and has used all its might to retain it. As a result, the other eight candidates seem to have virtually lost their existence in terms of campaigning.

As per statistics, Congress nominee Anurupa Hannan and CPM nominee Manoranjan Talukdar got 36,928 and 29,082 votes in the 2016 Assembly election in this seat, against Ranjeet Kumar Dass, who polled 56,454.

During the last five years, however, a great number of cadres of both the Congress and the CPM have deserted their own parties. The resignation of Dhiraj Dewri from the Congress before joining hands with the BJP a few days back has come as a bolt from the blue for the opposition alliance.

Yet, as things stand today, it is clear that both the fronts will face a stiff challenge from each other in Sarbhog, the outcome of which will be decided by 2,27,915 electors of the constituency on April 6.

Barpeta has been represented by AGP nominee Gunindra Nath Das, who is seeking re-election this time. He faces a stiff challenge from Congress nominee Abdur Rahim Ahmed. In 2016, Das gathered 63,563 votes as against 57,753 polled by Abdur Rahim Ahmed of the Congress and 37,697 by Abdur Rahim Khan of the AIUDF. But, this time, the united force of the Congress and the AIUDF is likely to pose a threat to the AGP leader. Although the support from the leaderships of the AGP and the BJP has created a strong base for the incumbent MLA, his fight for the second consecutive term and a third as a whole will not be as easy as it was in 2016, or in 2006, when he was elected for the first time.

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