Congress
UPHILL TASK: Congress candidate Sushanta Borgohain (left) and BJP candidate Topon Kumar Gogoi will have to sweat it out for the Jorhat seat.

The electorate of Jorhat Lok Sabha Constituency has never failed the Congress party.

Only twice have leaders of non-Congress parties won from this seat – Parag Chaliha of AGP came out trumps in 1984 and Kamakhya Prasad Tasa of BJP emerged victorious in the 2014 general elections – riding high on the ‘Modi wave’.

Otherwise, this seat has always been a Congress bastion with Late Bijoy Krishna Handique having won a record six times in succession – from 1991 to 2009. He was the longest serving MP from Jorhat.

The Jorhat seat has been represented by political luminaries of Assam – Bijoy Krishna Handique, Tarun Gogoi (former chief minister of Assam) who won in 1971 and 1977, and Debeswar Sarmah in 1951.

In the impending 2019 Lok Sabha polls, it is going to be a close contest between the Congress and BJP in Jorhat which will go to the polls on April 11 next.

The Lok Sabha elections will be held in Assam in three phases – from April 11 to April 23 next.

The BJP candidate this year for the Jorhat seat is Topon Kumar Gogoi and the Congress candidate is Sushanta Borgohain. The former holds the Ministry of Power (Independent) in the Sonowal Cabinet.

Political pundits say that since both Gogoi and Borgohain belong to the Ahom community, it is hard to say which way the votes will swing.

In the last general elections held in the year 2014, the tea tribe community of Assam – the traditional vote bank of the Congress party otherwise – exercised their franchise “wholeheartedly” for the BJP candidate Kamakhya Prasad Tasa.

Unlike in other parts of Assam, Muslims are not a significant factor in Jorhat. The Adivasi community is a decisive factor in the electoral landscape of this important urban centre of Assam.

Bijoy Handique – who the voters of Jorhat constituency never ‘disappointed’ – suffered his first defeat in 2014 – washed away by the ‘Modi tsunami’.

This year it is to be seen the votes swing in whose favour – the Congress or the BJP? Since Kamakhya Prasad Tasa (who belongs to the Adivasi community) has faced the axe due to “poor performance”, experts say it will be difficult to say whether the Adivasis will vote for Topon Gogoi or not? It is a wait-and-watch situation.

The first MP from Jorhat was Debeswar Sarmah of the Congress in the year 1951. Since then, the party has been on a winning streak in this constituency barring 1984 and 2014.

In the last Lok Sabha elections held in 2014, the Congress suffered a severe blow with BJP’s Kamakhya Prasad Tasa winning by a margin of 102,420 votes.

Jorhat Lok Sabha constituency is one among the 14 Lok Sabha constituencies in Assam. It comprises 10 Assembly segments – Jorhat, Titabar, Mariani, Teok, Amguri, Nazira, Mahmara, Sonari, Thowra and Sivasagar.

Jorhat is an important urban centre of Assam and acts as a gateway to Upper Assam and the state of Nagaland. It is the last capital of the Ahom kingdom and home to many historical monuments of Assamese culture.

Jorhat constituency: At a glance

Constituency number: 12

Total electors: 1,234,448 (2014 estimates)

Male electors: 6, 34,236

Female electors: 6, 00,212

Parinita Datta

Parinita Datta is Chief Copy Editor of Northeast Now. She can be reached at: parinitadatta@gmail.com

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