Guwahati: Two-time Assam chief minister Prafulla Kumar Mahanta and firebrand youth MLA Padma Hazarika will contest for the post of president of major regional party Asom Gana Parishad (AGP).
Both Mahanta, the founder president of one of the oldest regional parties in the state, and Hazarika have refused to back down despite the efforts of the party leadership for a consensus candidate.
Party sources said Mahanta had the backing of over 20 of AGP`s 50 district committees and Hazarika seven.
AGP`s serving president Chandra Mohan Patowary has opted out of the fray citing lack of consensus.
The electorate also comprises representatives of AGP`s affiliated outfits, including the women, tribal and tea tribe wings.
Counting will be taken up immediately after the elections to prevent clashes between rival supporters witnessed during the last two polls in 2005 and 2008, party sources said.
This is the first time in the history of AGP, which was formed in 1985 in the backdrop of the six-year long anti-foreigners agitation in Assam, that the party is holding a comprehensive organisational election at all levels, following the recommendations of a panel headed by senior AGP leader and former minister Hitendranath Goswami.
Besides the president`s post, two candidates -- former MLA Atul Bora (Junior) and Rajya Sabha MP Kumar Dipak Das -- are contesting for the post of Working President, a post currently held by senior leader Phani Bhushan Choudhury.
For the five posts of General Secretary there are 12 contenders, including MLA Keshab Mahanta, Lok Sabha MP Joseph Toppo and former minister Hiranya Konwar.
The organisational polls will also elect 21 members of the party`s executive committee. Altogether 34 candidates are in the fray for membership of the executive committee.
AGP lost its position as the main opposition party in the state to the All India United Democratic Front during the 2011 assembly polls in the state.