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Rebellion hit hard Asom parties

Written by: Staff
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Guwahati, Mar 17: Asom Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi admitted to the rebellion within the Congress party but refused to accept that it would harm the party prospects in the coming Assembly elections.

''This is not unnatural. But going by the Congress culture, every passing day it will die down, and on the polling day we will all be one,'' said Chief Minister Gogoi.

The rebellion have hit hard the political parties of Asom and ramifications of the same would surely be reflected in the results.

Congress, AGP, BJP and even smaller parties have been badly hit by rebellions with usual street fight, resignations, dharnas, rebel candidates and even gun battles replacing campaigning.

If the BJP hit the headlines with gun battles in which two were shot and injured, AGP has made more headlines because of rebellions, while Congress Rajib Bhawan has become a free-for-all battlefield.

But the AGP has realised that they are up against themselves.

Already hit hard by the breakaway faction of Prafulla Kumar Mahanta, the senior AGP leaders like Biraj Kumar Sharma have resigned from the party last night to contest as an independent in the Guwahati (East) constituency.

Mr Sharma is a two time MLA and considered number two in the party but still he could not manage the ticket for himself as it went to former union minister Birendra Prasad Baishya.

The AGP fearing the worst, tried to delay the process of ticket distribution till the last minute, but eventually they ensured that they could not win from at least six such constituencies where they had very strong chances. Barama and Kamalpur constituencies are amongst them.

Yesterday, it was the turn of the Rajib Bhawan to turn into a battlefield between the supporters of Sheikh Shah Alam, the sitting MLA of Congress and the supporters of Md Abdur Rashid Mondal.

The latter was given ticket dropping the former and it sparked off a street battle in which at least six injured, one very seriously while police arrested two persons. The atmosphere was equally charged in Hailakandi, where the nomination of Abdul Muhib Mazumdar as the Congress candidate triggered protests by supporters of ticket aspirant Samsul Islam Barlaskar.

''It happened. When I was given ticket for the first time in 1971 as a young leader the entire district Committee was against that but eventually it had gone down,'' said Mr Tarun Gogoi.

His bete noire Mr Brindabon Goswami also feels the same way.

''There are close to 500 aspirants. At least 90 per cent of them are genuinely eligible to get the ticket and contest election. But we have to choose only one man for each constituency. There will be bad blood,'' he said.

But the hurt had gone too far in the BJP office where supporters of a deprived candidate went after the party organisational secretary V Satish holding him responsible for not getting the ticket.

His bodyguards eventually shot back and injured two, putting a blot on the party, which will find hard to erase in the next two weeks of campaigning.

There are also smaller parties trying to catch the disgruntled elements of established parties. Former Minister Dileshwar Tanti of Congress switched his loyalty to NCP immediately after he was denied ticket while the Mahanta faction of AGP is trying to win over some of the disgruntled AGP leaders.

The Congress has dropped 13 sitting MLAs but comparatively they are still better placed than the AGP. ''I love this party but they humiliated me when I am sure of winning the constituency. I will see to it how Birendra Prasad Baishya wins from this constituency,'' said Mr Biraj Sharma, one of the founder of the AGP.

His words can be heard in at least 50 constituencies where rebels of some parties are trying to topple the applecart of the rivals, but party bigwigs are hoping that by the poll date there would be all quiet on the party front.

UNI

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