Exchange of ‘A-category’ seats costs former Assam CM his home constituency | Assam Election News – Times of India

GUWAHATI: Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) patriarch and founder president of Assam’s main regional party, Prafulla Kumar Mahanta faced the axe as per the policy of exchanging ‘A-category’ seats during seat sharing deal between BJP and his party.
Leaders of both the parties have finally opened their mouths on denying ticket to the two-time chief minister, who has been at the loggerheads with them ever since the controversial Citizenship (Amendment) Bill (CAB) was introduced by the NDA government in the Lok Sabha in July 2016. As protests have erupted after denial of tickets to numerous sitting MLAs in the saffron alliance, BJP state president Ranjeet Kumar Dass and his counterparts from two key allies AGP and United People’s Party Liberal (UPPL) was quick to convene a press conference in Guwahati on a busy Sunday, when political equations are changing fast. The only appeal to the voters in the grassroots was to vote for the candidates of the alliance partners “as their own”.
“There are certain formulas in seat sharing deals. Even A-category seats have to be handed over to the allies. We got Barhampur (Mahanta’s seat) but sacrificed Chabua for AGP. Nevertheless, BJP has a strong organizational base in Chabua,” said Dass.
But the move to hand over Barhampur, which AGP never lost since the formation of the party in 1985, has astonished many even within the AGP. The BJP, however, remains unmoved from the decision to field rich candidate Jitu Goswami – a state executive member in the party’s state unit- from the central Assam constituency.
Starting from being the face of six-years long anti-foreigners movement (1979-85), Mahanta has decades long experience of leading regional politics and the then 33-year old Mahanta became the country’s youngest chief minister of a state in 1985. But many may be unaware of BJP’s Binod Hazarika who became the first-time MLA from Chabua constituency in Dibrugarh in 2016 amid Modi wave that installed the first BJP-led government in the state. But for the BJP, Chabua and Mahanta’s Barhampur were at par, so far as ‘A-category’ constituencies to be exchanged were concerned. “We left Chabua for AGP. This does not mean the BJP MLA (Hazarika) was weak,” Dass evaluated the two MLAs from two different constituencies that has been cited as justification for Mahanta’s fate.
Even as the former chief minister is yet to announce his decision, his wife and former RS MP, Joysree Goswami Mahanta clearly hinted that Mahanta will fight the election from his own den. This may deepen the conflict and Mahanta, then will have to contest from outside the saffron alliance in his home constituency.
Along with Mahanta, AGP has denied party ticket to another stalwart, Brindaban Goswami from Tezpur seat. Goswami, another former party president, has hit out at the AGP leadership for “lacking commitment” towards the dedicated people in the party, as the regional party has fielded the son of warrior artist and legendary Bishnu Prasad Rava’s son, Prithbiraj Rava from Tezpur.
Goswami’s ouster from the party may cost the AGP, but president Atul Bora is ready for any sacrifice to keep intact their alliance with BJP for the primary task of keeping Congress-AIUDF alliance at bay.
Bora said Mahant’s distance with his party increased after the latter abstained from voting in 2019 Lok Sabha polls. Mahanta did not vote, in protest against the CAB. “We have only fielded those candidates, who have a good chance to win,” Bora categorically said, denying that AGP’s base in Barhampur has degraded.

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