SIVASAGAR, March 3: Till a few months back Pradip Hazarika, the AGP MLA from 103-Amguri LAC in Sivasagar district appeared the safest and the strongest among all AGP MLAs as long as his political fortunes are concerned, but of late it appears not at all so. The expanding support base of the ruling BJP and their clamour for a BJP candidate from Amguri has posed a serious threat to his candidature.
Pradip Hazarika, the sitting MLA, earlier returned from the LAC in 1985 as an independent candidate and in 1996 and 2006 as AGP candidate. But this time around, the 1,23,768 voters of Amguri will look for many other things in their candidate of choice considering the listless development graph of the region.
By virtue of representing the LAC for four times, veteran politician Hazarika has built up a solid beneficiary bank over the years and is actively involved with all activities in the constituency besides being a pillar of strength for the AGP. But emergence of Raijor Dal and Assam Jatiya Parishad has changed poll permutations abruptly with a section of AGP supporters leaning more towards these regional parties due to AGP’s continued support to the BJP despite the CAA imbroglio. According to a section of voters, Pradip Hazarika failed to create opportunities for the youths in the constituency in terms of jobs and entrepreneurship and he could win by a slander margin last time only with BJP’s support.
Further, six ticket aspirants of the BJP – Pranjal Kotoky, Aparajita Bhuyan, Kasturi Borbora, Hariprasanna Hazarika, Phatik Neog and Binita De Saikia and their supporters are in no mood to leave the constituency for their alliance partner AGP and have long been requesting senior party leadership to open the seat for a friendly contest. But it depends a lot on the outcome of the ongoing seat sharing calculations at Dispur and in Delhi.
Congress won the seat seven times beginning with Robin Kakoti in 1951 followed by Pushpadhar Chaliha in 1978 and 1972, Kirty Dutta in 1983 and Anjan Dutta in 1991, 2001 and 2011. Anjan Dutta, as a charismatic Youth Congress leader and a successful minister in Tarun Gogoi’s ministry built a reputation by reviving the dying ASTC. Anjan Dutta’s daughter Dr Ankita Dutta lost to AGP’s Pradip Hazarika by a margin of only 1600 votes. And if the BJP workers in Amguri desert him this time, chances of young and highly-educated Congress leader Dr Ankita Dutta will increase manifold. However, Anjan Dutta was there beside his daughter last time and with his departure Dr Ankita will have more challenges than before. BJP’s gradual inroads into tea tribes in the tea garden with cash incentives to a large number of them will put the Congress in considerable trouble in regaining their hold in the tea belt in Amguri as well.
Though the emergence of the new regional political parties will influence the voters in some measures, it has not yet risen to a level to challenge the traditional rivalry between Congress and AGP-BJP combine in Amguri LAC.