The BJP on Friday released a list of 70 candidates who will be contesting in the first two phases of Assembly polls in Assam.
The party’s ally AGP will contest 26 seats and the UPPL will contest eight. Last year, the AGP had contested 30 seats. Another ally, Rabha Joutha Manch, will contest one seat on BJP’s symbol.
The BJP has replaced 11 sitting MLAs with fresh faces and fielded four women candidates out of 70.
Addressing a press meet in Delhi on Friday evening, BJP general secretary Arun Singh said Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal will contest from Majuli and senior minister Himanta Biswa Sarma from Jalukbari — both senior leaders currently represent the same constituencies.
Sources close to Mahanta said that it was expected and the veteran leader might walk out of the alliance and contest the election from AGP (Progressive), a faction of AGP earlier headed by Mahanta. Already Assam Congress president Ripun Bora disclosed that Mahanta has contacted him.
However, Assam BJP president Ranjeet Dass will not contest from Sorbhog, which he currently holds, but from Patacharkuchi constituency. Sarma, at the press conference in Delhi, said the shift is due to a demand by the party karyakartas. However, as per source in Sorbhog, the joint candidate of the Congress-led alliance, which has both the Badruddin Ajmal-led AIUDF and three Left parties, stands a stronger chance.
In the seat-sharing deal with the AGP, the BJP has decided to contest the Barhampur constituency and fielded Jitu Goswami as its candidate. Barhampur’s sitting MLA is Prafulla Mahanta, two-time CM and a key face of the Assam Movement.
Mahanta, an AGP MLA for seven consecutive terms, has represented Barhampur since 1991. He has been sidelined over difference of opinion with the AGP leadership on several issues, including the CAA.
Here’s the full list: