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Assam: Congress edges over rivals in poll preparations

By K Anurag in Guwahati
February 17, 2009 20:12 IST
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The ruling Congress in Assam is way ahead in respect of preparedness for the forthcoming Lok Sabha polls compared to its arch rivals, the Bharatiya Janata Party and the regional Asom Gana Parishad.

The Congress has completed the process of collecting applications from aspirants for party nominations. A party source informed that there are over 125 applicants seeking nomination to contest from the total 14 parliamentary constituencies in the state.

It is for the first time such a large number of aspirants have applied for party nomination before a Lok Sabha election in the state, handing a tough job to the election panel of Assam Pradesh Congress Committee to recommend names to the All India Congress Committee for final selection of party nominees in the state.

Senior party leaders attribute the rush of aspirants to the 'dream run' the party is having in the state since 1999 Lok Sabha polls during which the party won two Assembly elections and tasted overwhelming success in the last two rounds of Lok Sabha polls.

The party won in nine constituencies out of the total 14 Lok Sabha segments in the state in 2004 general election.

The ruling party hopes to better its performance this election, given that the BJP and the AGP, are still trying hard to cobble up a well accepted seat sharing understanding to keep the anti-Congress votes undivided.

The seat sharing or poll understanding bid of the AGP and the BJP have faced a road block over the candidature of the prestigious Guwahati Lok Sabha constituency, though both parties have by and large decided on the modality to share other 13 Lok Sabha seats in the state.

None of the parties are willing to give up candidature in Guwahati Lok Sabha seat which is now represented by the Congress. The Congress is too happy with differences creeping into the AGP-BJP's efforts on poll understanding.

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K Anurag in Guwahati