Star campaigners lined up for Assam Assembly poll



Guwahati: Major parties have lined up a long list of star campaigners to woo voters in Assam where Assembly polls are scheduled for April 4 and 11.

The ruling Congress, bidding for return to power for the third consecutive term, has a long list of prominent persons, including Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi, to campaign for the party.

There are others like Youth Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, Union ministers Pranab Mukherjee, Ghulam Nabi Azad, Ambika Soni, Sachin Pilot and Subodh Kant Sahai, party spokesman Bichitra Choduhury said.

The party has also lined up several leaders from the Northeast including Chief Minister of Arunachal Pradesh Dorjee Khandu, Meghalaya Chief Minister Mukul Sangma, Mizoram Chief Minister Lalthanhawla, former chief ministers Mukut Mithi of Arunachal Pradesh and SC Jamir of Nagaland.

Assam's Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi recently said the party would not bring any Bollywood star to campaign for his party, but will solely depend upon its leaders and grass root workers.

The BJP, not to be left behind, has already launched an aggressive campaign in the state though its national leaders are yet to make their presence felt.

The party has also lined big leaders like former deputy prime minister LK Advani, party president Nitin Gadkari, former presidents Rajnath Singh and M Venkaiah Naidu, Sushma Swaraj, Arun Jaitley, Varun Gandhi, Ravi Shankar Prasad, Rajiv Pratap Rudy, Vasundhara Raje Scindia and Ananth Kumar.

State unit president Ranjit Dutta said the party would also bring successful chief ministers of BJP-ruled states, including Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi, Jharkhand Chief Minister Arjun Munda and Bihar Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Modi, to campaign for the party in the state.

Politicians apart, Bollywood stars Hema Malini and Shatrughan Sinha along with television stars Smriti Irani and cricketer Navjot Singh Siddhu are to take part in the campaign, Dutta said.

The other two main parties with a predominant role in the forthcoming polls - the Asom Gana Parishad and Asom United Democratic Front - however, have no national leader to campaign for them.

The AGP is depending on their local leaders including President Chandra Mohan Patowary, former President and twice Chief Minister Prafulla Kumar Mahanta, former president Brindabon Goswami and several other former state ministers.

The Left parties in the state though having a limited presence of only three seats in the current Assembly has an impressive list of campaigners with all top leaders, including CPM General Secretary Prakash Karat, scheduled to address rallies in the state.

Politburo members Sitaram Yechury, Brinda Karat, Biman Bose, Mohd Amin, Tripura Chief Minister Manik Sarkar and central secretariat members Nilotpal Basu, Rama Das, Bajuban Riyan, Uddhab Barman, Hemen Das and Noorul Huda are also expected to address the masses during the run-up to the polls.

The Nationalist Congress Party, which had won only one seat in the outgoing Assembly, also has several national level leaders scheduled to visit the state and they include Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar, former Lok Sabha Speaker P A Sangma and Union ministers Praful Patel and Agatha Sangma among others.

Other national leaders scheduled to campaign in the state are Samajwadi Party president Mulayum Singh Yadav, Lok Janashakti Party national president Ram Vilas Paswan and Trinamool Congress chairperson Mamata Banerjee.

PTI