Will the anti-Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) sentiments have any impact in Chabua constituency in upcoming Assam Assembly elections?

During the peak of the anti-CAA protest in Assam, Chabua in Dibrugarh district was one of the epicentre of violent protests.

Agitators in Chabua torched the Railway Station, Post Office, a bank among many other public properties.

Even the house of present Chabua MLA – Binod Hazarika, was burnt down by anti-CAA protesters.

Notably, Chabua is the native place of Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal as well as that of ULFA-Independent Commander-in-Chief Paresh Baruah.

In most likelihood, keeping in mind the anti-CAA sentiments in Chabua, the BJP decided to not to contest from the seat and left it for its ally, the AGP to fight it out.

The BJP, in fact, has decided to field sitting Chabua MLA Binod Hazarika from Lahowal.

The AGP, on the other hand, has fielded Punakon Baruah from Chabua constituency.

Also read: CAA implemented even before being passed?

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be in Chabua on March 18 to campaign for AGP candidate Punakon Baruah.

On March 20, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi will visit Chabua to campaign for party’s candidate Ajay Phukan.

Chabua was a Congress bastion since 1978.

The grand-old party had been holding on to the Chabua seat for five terms.

The AGP won the seat twice and its ally BJP won the seat only in 2016.

In 2016, Binod Hazarika had defeated the Congress’ Raju Sahu by an margin of 30,934 votes and wrest Chabua.

“There is an anti-CAA undercurrent in upper Assam, but it needs to be seen how much impact it will have in the elections. Anti-CAA sentiments are high among the people, especially in the rural areas,” a Chabua resident said.

Altogether, seven candidates are in fray for the Chabua seat.

Also read: Congress leader Rahul Gandhi to visit Assam on a 2-day trip for election campaigning from March 19

However, the prime battle for the Chabua seat is expected to be a triangular one involving the Congress, the AGP and the Raijor Dal.

While, the Congress has fielded Ajoy Phukan as its candidate, the AGP has fielded Punakon Baruah.

Former Assam minister during AGP regime Bhaben Baruah is contesting on a Raijor Dal ticket.

The other candidates are Ananta Hazarika of the LJP, Prakash Tanti of the RLSP and Independents Priyanka Neog and Lawrence Nag.

“Ajay Phukan is campaigning hard to penetrate into the tea dominated areas. Tea tribes are the major vote bank in upper Assam and they will decide the fate of the candidates. The fight will be interesting between AGP and Congress for Chabua seat,” a local resident of Chabua said.

Also read: Sidelined by AIUDF for making ‘anti-Assamese’ remarks, Sheikh Shah Alam now AGP’s Goalpara West candidate

Avik Chakraborty

Avik Chakraborty is Northeast Now Correspondent in Dibrugarh. He can be reached at: babs8oct@gmail.com