Congress may contest 97 seats in Assam polls

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Guwahati: The Congress may contest as many as 97 seats in the upcoming polls in Assam for the 126-member assembly, leaving the remaining to its partners in the opposition grand alliance.

The Congress and five other parties have formed a grand alliance in the state for the assembly polls that are expected in April. The other parties are: The All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF), CPI, CPI (M), CPI (ML) and the Anchalik Gana Morcha.

There was some uneasiness in the alliance after the Congress started the process of candidate selection in all the 126 constituencies. The party has asked each applicant to deposit Rs 40,000 in the form of demand draft along with the application for which the deadline was Wednesday. As many as 625 people had applied till Tuesday.

The Congress has now clarified that it would return the deposits made by applicants in seats which would go to the partners.

A senior Congress leader who does not want to be named told ET: “The AIUDF is likely to contest 20 seats while the left parties together will get five to six seats and regional party Anchalik Gana Morcha will put candidates in three to four seats.”

He added: “We have already formed a co-ordination committee of all the patterns,” he said.

Congress observers are now reviewing the applications for party seats, the leader said. “We had sought applications for all the 126 seats however we will return the money for seats where we will not put candidates,” he added.

The Congress had won 26 seats in the 2016 assembly polls. After resignations and the death of three members, now its strength is 19. The AIUDF had won 13 seats. The left parties could not win any seats last time. The Anchalik Gana Morcha is contesting the assembly elections for the first time.

The congress leader said while the coalition partners should get their current sitting seats, there could be changes in some seats. “In some seats which have an 80% Muslim minority population, there are chances of a friendly contest between the Congress and the AIUDF,” he said.

The leader added: “In the 2016 polls, the AIUDF had upset the Congress’ win prospects in at least 20-30 seats.”

STAND ON CAA

The Assam Congress on Wednesday decided to strengthen its stand against the Citizenship Amendment Act, and asked cadres to visit every house of the state and collect Gamosa (scarf) with anti-CAA messages which will be displayed at an upcoming ‘Martyrs’ Memorial’ in Guwahati.

“The Congress is building an anti-CAA memorial in Guwahati and I would request every Assamese to share Gamosas with your message with us. You may sign the Gamosa and send it to us through courier or hand it over to any party worker when he visits you,” said Congress manifesto committee chairman Gaurav Gogoi, while addressing a meeting in the town of Bihpuria.

The Congress has made CAA an election issue. Former Congress president Rahul Gandhi in a recent rally in Assam stated that the party would respect the Assam Accord and would not implement the CAA if the party is voted to power.





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