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Sarba upbeat on BJP prospects

By Ron Duarah

DIBRUGARH, March 28 � Ever since AASU days, Sarbananda Sonowal has been at the forefront of public issues. In the AGP, as an MLA and thereafter as MP, he has been vociferously raising issues of the Assamese society in the Legislative forums. Now as a star campaigner of the BJP, the saffron party has a challenging wish-list on Sonowal: at least five MLAs from upper Assam.

Never one to take things lying down, this leader of the masses is therefore vigorously campaigning for his new political party, the BJP, in the three upper Assam districts of Sivasagar, Dibrugarh and Tinsukia. Asked to comment on the likelihood of his toil bearing fruit, he said he is hopeful of good results in ten constituencies: Margherita, Doomdooma, Digboi, Tinsukia, Dibrugarh, Chabua, Naharkatia, Duliajan, Tingkhong and Thowra. Of these, the Dibrugarh and Duliajan constituencies have sitting BJP MLAs, and the party is optimistic of retaining these two.

Sonowal said his optimism in the ten constituencies mentioned above stems from �feedback from the public.� He has been touring the three districts extensively and addressing at least half a dozen meetings a day for quite some time now, apart from meeting citizens� groups.

For a person who has been termed �Jatiya Nayak� (national saviour) by AASU for a successful legal battle in the Supreme Court, resulting in the scrapping of the pro-Bangladeshi IMDT Act, burning the midnight oil has been his passion and duty. With the BJP pinning high hopes on him to resurrect the party in the traditional Congress bastion of upper Assam, his work load has multiplied several fold.

�I am not one to shy away from responsibility�, he told this newspaper. He said that the issue of illegal influx can be best addressed by the BJP. However, he had no comment on the BJP�s public posture that Hindu immigrants from Bangladesh are to be treated as oppressed refugees. This is one sticky note that he is yet to come to grips with.

Asked how could he be so optimistic of the BJP�s electoral fortunes in a traditional Congress bastion, where Congress candidates cannot be wished away, Sonowal said it is the selection of the party�s candidates that would ultimately swing the voters� views. Though the BJP may claim to have fielded �winnable candidates�, whether this view is shared by the voter too remains to be finally decided.

The BJP thinks that with Sarbananda Sonowal as the major campaigner for the party this time, the votes should flow in naturally. But then, voters are known to have an independent mind. Sonowal�s magic or otherwise is going to be proven soon. But those watching him from a close range are unanimous in their opinion that the Assam Assembly polls of 2011 and its outcome may make or break Sonowal. He too is aware of this. As he puts it candidly, �I am doing my bit, the rest is on the public to decide.�

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Sarba upbeat on BJP prospects

DIBRUGARH, March 28 � Ever since AASU days, Sarbananda Sonowal has been at the forefront of public issues. In the AGP, as an MLA and thereafter as MP, he has been vociferously raising issues of the Assamese society in the Legislative forums. Now as a star campaigner of the BJP, the saffron party has a challenging wish-list on Sonowal: at least five MLAs from upper Assam.

Never one to take things lying down, this leader of the masses is therefore vigorously campaigning for his new political party, the BJP, in the three upper Assam districts of Sivasagar, Dibrugarh and Tinsukia. Asked to comment on the likelihood of his toil bearing fruit, he said he is hopeful of good results in ten constituencies: Margherita, Doomdooma, Digboi, Tinsukia, Dibrugarh, Chabua, Naharkatia, Duliajan, Tingkhong and Thowra. Of these, the Dibrugarh and Duliajan constituencies have sitting BJP MLAs, and the party is optimistic of retaining these two.

Sonowal said his optimism in the ten constituencies mentioned above stems from �feedback from the public.� He has been touring the three districts extensively and addressing at least half a dozen meetings a day for quite some time now, apart from meeting citizens� groups.

For a person who has been termed �Jatiya Nayak� (national saviour) by AASU for a successful legal battle in the Supreme Court, resulting in the scrapping of the pro-Bangladeshi IMDT Act, burning the midnight oil has been his passion and duty. With the BJP pinning high hopes on him to resurrect the party in the traditional Congress bastion of upper Assam, his work load has multiplied several fold.

�I am not one to shy away from responsibility�, he told this newspaper. He said that the issue of illegal influx can be best addressed by the BJP. However, he had no comment on the BJP�s public posture that Hindu immigrants from Bangladesh are to be treated as oppressed refugees. This is one sticky note that he is yet to come to grips with.

Asked how could he be so optimistic of the BJP�s electoral fortunes in a traditional Congress bastion, where Congress candidates cannot be wished away, Sonowal said it is the selection of the party�s candidates that would ultimately swing the voters� views. Though the BJP may claim to have fielded �winnable candidates�, whether this view is shared by the voter too remains to be finally decided.

The BJP thinks that with Sarbananda Sonowal as the major campaigner for the party this time, the votes should flow in naturally. But then, voters are known to have an independent mind. Sonowal�s magic or otherwise is going to be proven soon. But those watching him from a close range are unanimous in their opinion that the Assam Assembly polls of 2011 and its outcome may make or break Sonowal. He too is aware of this. As he puts it candidly, �I am doing my bit, the rest is on the public to decide.�