Series of protests across the State over the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016 might have played one of the major roles behind depriving saffron ticket at least to three out of the five sitting Lok Sabha MPs in Assam.
The BJP has axed five of its sitting Lok Sabha MPs from Assam while preparing the list of candidates for the forthcoming Lok Sabha polls — Bijoya Chakrabvarty (Guwahati), Ramen Deka (Mangaldai), Ram Prasad Sarmah (Tezpur), Kamakhya Prasad Tasa (Jorhat) and Rajen Gohain (Nagaon) Lok Sabha constituencies.
Out of the five axed sitting MPs, at least three had strong RSS background and yet they were deprived of party tickets to contest the polls.
While party sources said that age, anti-incumbency factor and controversies played the major role behind depriving of tickets to the sitting MPs this time, series of agitation against the ruling BJP-led dispensation at Dispur across the State over the Citizenship Bill also added to the decision to pave way for new faces in Mangaidai, Tezpur and Nagaon.
While BJP candidate for Mangaldai Dilip Saikia has an RSS background, the candidates in Nagaon and Tezpur—Rupak Sarmah and Pallab Lochan Das have Congress background and joined the BJP only ahead of 2016 Assembly polls in Assam.
The BJP deprived Kabindra Purkayastha for the party’s ticket from Silchar, a three-time Lok Sabha MP and a former union minister.
Although age was not in Purkayastha’s favour, his name was not even considered for the ticket this time.
“The RSS is consulted by the BJP leadership over the tickets. We have suggested some candidates for some of the constituencies which include some of the young people. We feel that people of the country are for a new India propagated by the BJP-led government and more new faces should be elected for the purpose,” said a senior RSS leader.
Although neither the BJP nor the RSS leadership spoke anything about pressure due to Citizenship Bill, the ruling dispensation at Diuspur was embarrassed over the protests over the controversial Bill that continued for months, and replacing old leaders with new faces could be a well calculated move to attract the electorates particularly the young voters.