NALBARI, April 3 - The 61-Dharmapur LAC in Nalbari district is all set to witness a prominent electoral battle between Congress candidate and former Agriculture Minister Nilamani Sen Deka with BJP candidate and former AGP Minister Chandra Mohan Patowary on April 11, during the second phase of polling.
The said poll battle in the constituency has become a prestige issue for both the Congress and BJP. Altogether, 1,29,172 voters of the constituency will decide the fates of four candidates, including Nilamani Sen Deka (INC), Chandra Mohan Patowary (BJP), Dipak Barman (Independent) and Shankar Talukdar (Independent) respectively.
All the four candidates have been trying to woo the confidence of the voters by holding street-corner meetings, public discussions, by opening poll offices, and by conducting house-to-house drives. Independent candidate Dipak Barman is reportedly posing a serious threat to the poll prospects of Chandra Mohan Patowary as the former is quite popular among the women voters of the constituency as he won the confidence of the womenfolk through a social organisation named Priyabala at Bongaon.
Besides, BJP leader Chandra Mohan Patowary has miserably failed to take advantage of the anti-incumbency factor against Nilamani Sen Deka, for which Deka has managed to mobilise a sizeable section of voters in the constituency in his favour.
A popular Opposition leader, Chandra Mohan Patowary had a strong hold in Dharmapur constituency, but failed to maintain cordial relationship with the voters since the defeat in the last Assembly and Lok Sabha elections. It was alleged that Patowary visits the constituency only during election time.
In 1978, after Dharmapur was declared an Assembly constituency, Ramani Barman was first elected with 15,195 votes by defeating senior Congress leader Dr Bhumidhar Barman, who polled only 11,832 votes. However in 1983, Dr Bhumidhar Barman was elected to the Assam Legislative Assembly by getting only 266 votes. During the Assam Movement, the election was boycotted by the people, heeding the call of AASU.
Riding the crest of an emotional wave at the end of the Assam Movement, AGP nominee Chandra Mohan Patowary won the seat by capturing 46,843 votes. However, Congress candidate Dr Bhumidhar Barman got only 11,556 votes. In the Assembly poll of 1991, former AGP Minister Chandra Mohan Patowary retained the Dharmapur seat by defeating Congress candidate Kishor Hazarika. While Patowary got 19,490 votes in that election, only 11,231 votes were polled in favour of Congress nominee Kishor Hazarika. Patowary dominated the constituency with his third-time victory.
In the 1996 election, Patowary received 47,894 votes, while Congress candidate Nilamani Sen Deka got only 17,339 votes. The situation was different in 2001 as heavyweight leader of the regional party Chandra Mohan Patowary was first defeated by Congress nominee Nilamani Sen Deka. A total of 37,674 votes were polled in favour of Nilamani Sen Deka, while Chandra Mohan Patowary got 36,223 votes. However, in the 2006 election, Chandra Mohan Patowary again won the seat with 51,926 votes while Nilamani Sen Deka was restricted to merely 42,372 votes.
In the last Assembly election, former Minister Nilamani Sen Deka won the Dharmapur seat by defeating chief ministerial candidate Chandra Mohan Patowary. Sen Deka polled 50,786 votes, while Patowary got 45,455 votes. Despite a wave in favour of Patowary as the chief ministerial candidate in the last election, he failed to register a win.
However, today there is no wave in favour of Patowary in the constituency. Perhaps Patowary may not finfd to easy to win the Dharmapur seat. He must take advantage of the anti-incumbency factor to register a victory.
On the other hand, Nilamani Sen Deka, who is popular among the womenfolk of the constituency, is carrying out house-to-house visits in order to woo the confidence of the voters. In any case, the political picture is as yet hazy in Dharmapur LAC.