CM leaves for Centre to finalise RS tickets

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Guwahati, Mar 10 (UNI) Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi will leave for New Delhi today to finalise the Congress' ticket for the March 22 Rajya Sabha polls .

Other parties, except Bodoland Peoples Party (BPP), were also gearing up to finalise their candidates for the three RS seats, which will be vacant next month. The state has total seven seats.

The last date for filing nominations has been fixed on March 15.

State Congress members here have informed that they were confident of wining one seat as one was expected to go to their ally BPP while the Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) is expected to win the other.

Mr Gogoi will be meeting the party high commands on Tuesday and Wednesday in the national capital in this regard.

A battle between two heavyweights for a seat in the Upper House has divided the Congress in Assam and put the high-command in a quandary, sources informed.

State Pradesh Congress Committee president Bhubaneswar Kalita and his predecessor Paban Singh Ghatowar were vying for one each, sources said.

A six-member team comprising legislators Robin Bordoloi, Bhupen Bora and Abdul Khaleque, parliamentary secretaries Bidya Singh Engleng and Bibekananda Doley along with party spokesman Rajesh Joshi was lobbying for Mr Kalita's nomination.

However, the leaders of INTUC Legislative Forum, Assam Chah Mazdoor Sangha (ACMS) and the party's tea cell have been backing for Ghatowar, who lost the Dibrugarh parliamentary constituency for the first time.

Meanwhile, AGP working president Phani Bhusan Choudhary have informed that they have received 11 applications seeking nomination for the RS seats so far.

The applicants include fomer AGP president Thaneswar Boro, former Union Minister Birendraprasad Baishya and former Ministers Hitendranath Goswami and Hiranya Konwar.

Mr Choudhary also said that the party in meeting on Thursday last has authorized him to select a consensus nominee by tomorrow.

State BJP spokesman Charan Deka today said that the party was yet to finalise its nominee for one seat.

''We have urged the AGP to extend support to our candidate,'' Mr Deka said and added that there were about eight to ten aspirants, including party state vice-president Palit Bora and himself.

The Assam United Democratic Front (AUDF) has written to the AGP, CPI-M, CPI, NCP and AGP-P to extend support to its candidate for one of the seats as it had no representation in Parliament.

''The AGP in return has also sought AUDF's support,'' party working president H R A Choudhury said.

The AGP has 24 members in the Assembly, while AUDF and BJP has ten members each, with CPI-M two and CPI, NCP and AGP-P with one each.

UNI MT PP SS1342

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