Congress-BJP battle royal on cards in six Dibrugarh seats

Last Updated: Tuesday, March 29, 2011 - 13:06

Guwahati: Upper Assam`s Dibrugarh district
is poised to witness a battle royal in its six Assembly
constituencies between the Congress and the BJP with the
saffron party making all-out efforts to increase its tally in
the Congress bastion.

The Congress enjoyed predominance in the constituencies
of Dibrugarh, Moran, Lahowal, Duliajan, Tingkhong and
Naharkatia for decades, courtesy the support of the dominant
tea tribe which comprises 35 per cent of the electorate.

Besides the tea tribe, the district, which has the
largest area covered by tea gardens, has influential sections
of Ahoms, Sonowal Kacharis, Chutiya, Muttock and Moran
communities who traditionally play decisive roles in
elections.
Since 2001, the BJP and AGP have been making steady
inroads into these areas with the former wresting the
Dibrugarh seat in 2006 from the Congress which also lost both
Duliajan and Tingkhong seats in the 2001 and 2006 polls.

The BJP was successful in winning the prestigious
Dibrugarh seat with its candidate Prashanta Phukan defeating
the two-time winning Congress candidate Dr Kalyan Kumar Gogoi
by a mere 177 votes and the latter, who has been renominated
by the party, is making all-out efforts to regain the seat
this time around.

The Congress party was leaving no stone unturned in
ensuring that Gogoi wins back the seat, but for BJP, too,
retaining the seat has become a prestige issue with star
campaigners concentrating their efforts in Dibrugarh and the
neighbouring Upper Assam constituencies.
``We will definitely win in Dibrugarh and also in several
other Upper Assam districts as we have brought in development
in the area over the years,`` Assam Pradesh Congress president
Bhubaneswar Kalita said.

The Congress also regained the Dibrugarh parliamentary
constituency from the BJP with veteran Congress leader Paban
Singh Ghatowar defeating Sarbananda Sonowal, who had won the
seat in 2004 on an AGP ticket, but prior to the Assembly polls
joined the BJP.

The BJP was upbeat about Sonowal joining the party as he
had made considerable efforts to ensure the party`s entry into
the tea belt and also in the tribal-dominated areas.

``The Congress has no chance in the area as despite being
richly endowed with tea, oil and other resources, it has
lagged behind in development leading to rise in militancy in
the area,`` Sonowal pointed out.

The Dibrugarh Assembly constituency has eight candidates,
including a lone Independent woman candidate Sima Ghosh, in
the fray, but the actual contest is likely to be between BJP`s
Phukan and Congress`s Gogoi.

PTI



First Published: Tuesday, March 29, 2011 - 13:06

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