Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal will contest the assembly election from Majauli seat, the BJP said today while releasing a list of candidates for two phases of the three-phase election.
Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, widely known as a key BJP strategist for the north-east, will contest from Jalukbari, a seat that he currently holds.
Mr Sarma was not keen to contest the election, but the party decided that Mr Sonowal would not be projected as the chief ministerial candidate and the BJP would fight the election under the joint leadership of Mr Sonowal and Mr Sarma, sources have said.
The BJP announced the names of candidates for 70 seats today.
Of the 126 seats in Assam’s legislative assembly, 47 will go to the polls on March 27 in the first phase, voting on 39 will be held on April 1 in the second phase and 40 seats will go to the polls in the third and final phase on April 6.
The names for the 70 seats announced today will contest in the first and second phases.
The BJP will not field 11 MLAs again. Its regional ally Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) allowed the BJP to contest from Barhampur seat and stopped AGP’s founder president Prafulla Kumar Mahanta from contesting from there.
The BJP’s battle team for Assam now includes AGP and the United People’s Party Liberal (UPPL). The AGP will fight on 26 seats and the UPPL will contest eight seats.
This is first election in north-east after the Congress was ousted from the region. Though the BJP has successfully obtained power in the region, this time it is about retaining it.
Another first in this election in Assam is the Congress not going solo. It has formed an alliance with former rival Badaruddin Ajmal-led AIUDF, a smaller regional outfit Anchalik Gana Morcha (AGM) and three Left parties.