BJP-led NDA retains power in Assam with less number of seats

The ruling BJP-led alliance, which returned to power in Assam for the second consecutive term, secured 11 seats less than the 2016 assembly polls. The Bharatiya Janata Party, the dominant partner of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA), bagged 60 seats, similar to what it got five years ago. The NDA went on to finally win 75 seats in the 126 member assembly.

BJP’s old ally Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) won nine seats against 14 seats that it won last time while its new partner United People’s Party Liberal (UPPL) won six seats as the Bodoland based party for the first time contested the assembly elections.

The Congress, which governed Assam for 15 years (2001 to 2016), though could not win the elections this time has managed 29 seats, three seats more than the last elections, when the party lost Assam to the BJP. Other partners of the Congress led “Mahajot” (grand alliance) – the All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF) won 16 seats up from 13 last time, Bodoland Peoples Front (BPF) got four seats against 12 seats in previous polls and Communist Party of India-Marxist won just one seat.

Raijor Dal (RD) President and jailed leader Akhil Gogoi, who contested from Sibasagar constituency as an independent candidate, also won the seat by defeating the BJP candidate Surabhi Rajkonwari by a margin of 11,875 votes.

The AIUDF contested the 2016 assembly elections independently while Bodoland Peoples Front (BPF), earlier an ally of the BJP is now an alliance partner of the 10-party “Mahajot”.

All the prominent candidates of the BJP and the 13 ministers of the outgoing government including Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal, who was re-elected from the world’s largest river island Majuli in eastern Assam, Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma from Jalukbari Assembly seat and state BJP President Ranjeet Kumar Dass from Patacharkuchi Assembly seat, have retained their respective seats.

Sarma, BJP’s pointsman in the northeastern region, who retained his Jalukbari constituency for the fifth consecutive term defeating his Congress rival Romen Chandra Borthakur by a whopping 1,01,911 votes, improvwd upon his previous record of 85,935 votes in 2016.

Assam assembly speaker and BJP candidate Hitendranath Goswami has won from Jorhat constituency while Industry Minister Chandra Mohan Patowary (Dharmapur), Forest and Environment Minister Parimal Sukla Baidya (Dholai), Law Minister Siddhartha Bhattacharya (Gauhati East), Handloom, Irrigation and Textiles Minister Ranjit Dutta (Behali) and Urban Development Minister Pijush Hazarika (Jagiroad) also won the elections.

AGP President and Minister Atul Bora has been re-elected from Bokakhat by defeating independent candidate Pranab Doley by a margin of 45,181 votes.

Former Congress Minister Ajanta Neog, who joined the saffron party weeks before the assembly polls, retained her Golaghat seat by defeating Congress candidate Bitupan Saikia by a margin of 9,325 votes.

Another former Congress Minister Gautam Roy, who contested this time on a BJP ticket ironically lost to Congress candidate Khaliluddin Mazumdar in southern Assam’s Katigora seat by 6,939 votes.

Several Congress leaders including state Congress President Ripun Bora, who is a Rajya Sabha member, himself also lost the election in the Gohpur Assembly seat to the BJP’s Utpal Borah by a margin of 29,294 votes. Bora resigned on Sunday night taking moral responsibility for the party’s defeat in the Assembly elections.

However, Congress Legislature Party leader of the outgoing assembly Debabrata Saikia has been re-elected from Nazira assembly seat by defeating BJP candidate Mayur Borgohain by a thin margin of 683 votes while another Congress leader Diganta Barman won from Barkhetri by defeating BJP nominee Narayan Deka by a Margin of 4,054 votes.

Sitting Congress MLAs Rakibul Hussain from Samaguri and Rupjyoti Kurmi from Mariani retained their respective seats. Defeating BJP nominee Hemanta Kalita, Congress candidate Bhaskar Jyoti Baruah won in Titabor, which was earlier represented by three-time Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi, who died last year.