With Bhaskar Jyoti Baruah getting ready to file nomination as a Congress candidate to fight for Titabar Assembly seat in Jorhat district, all eyes in Jorhat are focussed on this man.

Bhaskar Jyoti Baruah, if voted to power, will replace Assam’s three-time chief minister Tarun Gogoi, who passed away on November 23, 2020, as the sitting MLA of Titabar constituency.

Titabar is a Congress stronghold that has remained loyal to the party defeating the BJP wave which swept most parts of the nation in 2014.

The people of Titabar kept on voting for their beloved leader, Tarun Gogoi, the Congress stalwart, who became the chief minister of Assam for three consecutive terms from 2001.

He retained the seat in 2016 for the fourth time to be seated in the opposition benches.

Gogoi’s death on November 23, 2020, left the people of Titabar bereft, a father figure, whose passing away had orphaned them.

The Congress on Sunday night announced the name of Bhaskar Jyoti Baruah as their candidate for the Titabar Legislative Assembly constituency, a dark horse in the political firmament.

For the people of Titabar, however, Baruah is well-known as a farmer, tea grower, businessman and above all, a philanthropist.

Speaking to this correspondent, Baruah said he had been a close side of Tarun Gogoi and would carry on all the works that late Gogoi had left unfinished if he is elected.

“As a person, close to Tarunda, I know what were his dreams for Titabar. Among these, Rs 100 crore water supply scheme, which draws water from rivers but is not functioning properly, is my first priority. This is providing clean arsenic-free and iron-free drinking water to all the people.”

“Secondly, I would like to make a bypass road from Kakodonga to Mariani, parallel to the historic Dhodar Ali on the other side, to ease traffic congestion,” he said.

As to how he would counter the growing base of BJP among the tea tribe community with the BJP coming up with several tea tribe-centric policies and sops in recent times, Baruah said that shoving in money from outside just to please the workers is not helping the industry at all with the tea industry is drying up now.

“If the entrepreneurs are not happy, the industry can never thrive and if the industry does not thrive, there will be no workers or their upliftment in the long run,” he said.

Baruah, who owns nine plantations, said he is a self-made man and identifies himself as a farmer first, who has been growing different crops in smallholdings in his village, Hamdoi-Tekelagaon.

“No country can develop properly if farmers and entrepreneurs are not given scope to grow. They are the ones who provide food and employment. If entrepreneurs are allowed to develop, automatically employment figures go up.”

“All the plantations that I had bought were sick but today those are thriving and my workers are very happy,” he said.

In response to a query as to whether he would ever jump the ship and join the BJP as had become the trend in recent times if voted to power, Baruah replied with a firm “No”.

“I’m here not to gain anything but to work for the people of Titabar,” he said.

“It does not matter to me if the BJP, AGP or any other party wins. They should work for the people and promote entrepreneurs. This is my take whether I’m in the ruling party or I am sitting in the opposition. Whatever amount I will get, it will be spent for the upliftment of my constituents,” he added.

A resident of Titabar, Baruah said he is well known for his charity.

“We all go to him when any aid is required for medical expenses; if houses are destroyed storms or floods or any other untoward happening,” he said.

Bhaskar Jyoti Baruah is pitted against BJP’s Hemanta Kalita, a former AASU leader and earlier AGP member, who won the Titabar seat in 1996 on an AGP ticket.

Baruah will file nomination papers on Tuesday.

Congress hopes that this dark horse could well be the winning steed.

Smita Bhattacharyya

Smita Bhattacharyya is Northeast Now Correspondent in Jorhat. She can be reached at: triptyaddy@gmail.com