Jorhat (Assam): Among the most prestigious Lok Sabha seats in Assam, Jorhat will see six-time sitting Congress MP Bijoy Krishna Handique battle it out against BJP`s Kamakhya Prasad Tasa, a tea tribe leader, and AGP`s Prodip Hazarika.
Handique is contesting for the seventh time from Jorhat, which is considered a Congress bastion besides being the home district of Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi.
Though pitted against nine candidates, Handique`s battle is actually against Tasa, whom he had defeated in 2009, and Hazarika. Polling will be held on April 7.
Considered to be close to UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Handique has a clean image and support in the deciding Sibsagar, Jorhat, Titabor and Teok areas, political analysts claim.
Congress has a substantial presence at Moriani where the Thengal Autonomous Council administered by the party has provided employment opportunities to the youth by giving them tractors, autorickshaws, tempos and loans for Self Help Groups, they said.
Handique previously served as the minister of state for defence, Union minister of state for steel and mines and DoNER minister.
Tasa, BJP state vice-president and general secretary of Tea and Ex-tea Garden Labourers Development Association, is said to enjoy considerable support in the tea estate areas and some of the town areas in the district.
Tasa had served as a general secretary of the Assam Tea Tribes Students Association (ATTSA) prior to his joining BJP.
Hazarika, a former AGP MLA between 2006-2011 and transport minister during the AGP regime, is popular in his former Amguri Assembly constituency.
Chief Minister Gogoi`s hometown and his Assembly constituency, Titabor, falls under the Jorhat Lok Sabha constituency. Gogoi`s son Gaurav is contesting this time as a Congress candidate from the Koliabor Lok Sabha seat for the first time. Tarun Gogoi`s brother Dip Gogoi had won from Koliabor thrice.
Congress state committee general secretary Rana Goswami has represented Jorhat in the Assembly twice and is the sitting MLA from there.
Intense campaigning is on in the constituency with political parties stressing on roadside rallies and meetings in community halls and at playgrounds.
The dates for the three-phased polls in Assam are April 7, 12 and 24.