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Congress banks on veteran politicians in Assam

March 13, 2009 19:55 IST

The Congress' Assam unit is banking heavily on party veterans to win the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections, indicates a list of the 11 candidates released by the party. The party is contesting from 13 LS constituencies out of the total 14 seats. It has left one seat to its ally Bodo People's Front.

Candidates from Lakhimpur and Dhubri are yet to be announced. The Congress had won in minority-dominated Dhubri in the 2004 elections while the regional Asom Gana Parishad bagged Lakhimpur.

Two sitting Members of Parliament Kirip Chaliha from Guwahati and A F Golam Osmani from Barpeta have been omitted from the list. Both the MPs are known for their criticism of the incumbent party government in Assam on various issues.

Their omission indicates that the party will not tolerate dissidence from any quarter.

Two women leaders -- Bobeeta Sharma and Ranee Narah --  are in the race for the  Lakhimpur seat while two veteran minority leaders including a sitting MP are fighting for nomination from Dhubri in western Assam.

Captain Robin Bardoloi, a sitting Member of Legislative Assembly, has been nominated to contest from Guwahati in place of Kirip Chaliha. Two first-time candidates, Anil Raja from Nagaon and Ismail Hussain from Barpeta, will contest this time.

In the remaining eight constituencies, the party has decided to bank on veteran leaders. The list includes Union minister for Heavy Industries Santosh Mohan Deb (Silchar), Union Minister of State for chemicals and fertilizer, Bijoy Krishna Handique (Jorhat), Lalit Mohan Suklavaidya (Karimganj), Biren Singh Ingti (Diphu), Moni Kumar Subba (Tezpur), Dip Gogoi (Kaliabor), Paban Singh Ghatowar (Dibrugarh) and Madhab Rajbongshi (Mangaldoi).

K Anurag in Guwahati