JAGIROAD, April 7 - While the Congress hopes to maintain the winning streak for the third consecutive term in Jagiroad constituency, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) believes it has already managed to break into the incumbent legislator�s traditional and strong vote banks in the seat, which has over two lakh eligible voters.
However, many believe that composite vote share of the religious minority and the Bengali Hindus (estimated to be around one lakh) will continue to be the deciding factor.
The Congress party had bagged the Jagiroad seat both in 2006 and 2011. It had won the last Assembly polls (2011) by more than 34,000 votes against the AGP, which had come a distant second.
However, the BJP�s intensive campaign coupled with its alliance with the AGP, which had captured the Jagiroad constituency thrice in a row from 1991 to 2001, might have a bearing in the Congress�s vote share.
Records say that in the last Assembly polls, while Congress candidate and sitting legislator Bibekananda Dalai bagged 67,659 votes, both the AGP (33,211) and the BJP (26,376) secured 59,587 in aggregate.
The fight in Jagiroad constituency, which had witnessed 79. 12 per cent voting in 2011, is also generating interest as former Congress legislator from Raha constituency and a close aide of former Congress Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma (now in BJP), Pijush Hazarika is contesting from the seat as a BJP nominee.
Although there are five other candidates in the fray for the seat including AIUDF�s Putul Das, poll pundits are dubbing it as a straight fight between the Congress�s Bibekananda Dalai and BJP�s Pijush Hazarika.
Talking to this reporter on the sideline of his campaign in Jagi, a remote village in Jagiroad, Pijush Hazarika said, �Road connectivity, flood, erosion, health and education will be my priority. Jagiroad is my home constituency and it is not new to me in any way. In fact, I had sought a ticket from the Congress from Jagiroad in 2006 which I was denied.�
�In the last ten years, there has been no development here. Jagiroad as a constituency has a lot of potential. It is an irony that commuters have to wait on either side of the rail gate after every 15 minutes as there is no alternative route (near Jagiroad railway station). I assure to construct an overbridge that would inject momentum to the residents of Jagiroad,� said that 38-year-old BJP candidate.
Refuting the allegations, the Congress MLA Bibekananda Dalai, who will turn 50 next year, said, �The pucca roads through which the BJP candidate is travelling to take part in the poll campaign were constructed during my tenure.�
On the AGP and BJP alliance, he said, �It is not going to affect the Congress vote share in any manner. The BJP Government at the Centre has betrayed the poor and I am going to regain the seat on the strength of the developmental works I had done in the last 10 years.�
Dalai denied claims of the BJP candidate that the saffron party had penetrated into the Congress�s traditional strong holds in areas like Nellie, Mayong and Dharamtul.