Guwahati, May 3: The ruling BJP-led NDA retained its grip on Assam, bagging 75 of the 126 assembly constituencies that went to polls, while the opposition Congress-led Grand Alliance managed to clinch just 50 seats.
The saffron party alone won 60 constituencies, the same as in 2016. Its ally Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) got nine seats, five less than what it did during the last polls, according to the Election Commission.
The third member of the winning alliance, United People’s Party Liberal (UPPL), secured six seats, all of which were wrested from the Bodoland People’s Front (BPF).
The Congress won 29 seats, improving upon its previous score of 26, and its partner in the Grand Alliance, the All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF), bagged 16, three more than what it had clinched in 2016.
The BPF, which had quit the ruling coalition and joined the Grand Alliance, has four seats in its kitty.
The BJP held on to as many as 49 constituencies it had won in the 2016 elections, lost ten and emerged victorious in eleven new ones, while the grand old party retained 15.
In eight constituencies, the winning margin breached the one-lakh mark – three of which were clinched each by the AIUDF and the BJP, and two by the Congress.
AIUDF’s Rafiqul Islam won the Jania constituency with the biggest margin of 1,44,775.
On the contrary, Congress Legislature party leader Debabrata Saikia bagged the Nazira constituency with the slimmest margin of 683 votes.
Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal registered a comfortable win in Majuli constituency for the second consecutive term, defeating his nearest Congress rival Rajib Lochan Pegu by 43,192 votes.
BJP heavyweight and state minister Himanta Biswa Sarma secured Jalukbari for the fifth consecutive term, beating Congress opponent Romen Chandra Borthakur by 1,01,911 votes.
Besides Sonowal and Sarma, 13 other BJP ministers retained their seats at ease, including Chandra Mohan Patowary from Dharmapur, Parimal Suklabaidya from Dholai, Ranjit Dutta from Behali, Sidhartha Bhattacharya from Gauhati East and Pijush Hazarika from Jagiroad.
The saffron party’s Rajya Sabha MP, Biswajit Daimary, wrested the Panery seat from BPF’s Karuna Kanta Swargiary.
Three AGP ministers — Atul Bora, Keshab Mahanta and Phanibhushan Choudhury – have also held on to their Bokakhat, Kaliabor and Bongaigaon constituencies respectively, with Choudhury clinching his seat for a record eighth successive term since 1985.
Speaker of the outgoing assembly, Hitendra Nath Goswami, who was trailing former Congress MLA Rana Goswami in the initial rounds in Jorhat, managed to clinch a victory by a margin of 6488 votes. His deputy Aminul Haque Laskar lost the Sonai constituency to AIUDF’s Karimuddin Barbhuiya.
Among the prominent leaders who failed to cut ice with the electorate is Congress state unit chief Ripun Bora. BJP’s Utpal Borah trounced him in Gohpur by 29,294 votes.
Bora has tendered his resignation on Sunday night following his humiliating defeat.
Former Congress minister Ajanta Neog, who joined the saffron party before the elections, maintained its hold on the Golaghat seat, but another grand-old party turncoat Gautam Roy lost the polls in Katigora.
Congress legislator Bhaskar Jyoti Baruah clinched Titabor, earlier represented by three-time chief minister Tarun Gogoi, while the party’s former MLA Borgohain wrested Thowra from BJP’s Kushal Dowari.
Jailed Raijor Dal president Akhil Gogoi, who joined the fray as an Independent, bagged the Sibsagar constituency by defeating his nearest BJP rival Surabhi Rajkonwari by 11,878 votes.
Newly floated party Assam Jatiya Parishad, however, failed to open its account, with its president Lurinjyoti Gogoi losing the two seats it contested — Naharkatiya and Duliajan.
Former Asam Sahitya Sabha president Parmananda Rajbongshi secured the Sipajhar seat as a BJP candidate.
Popular Bhojpuri singer Kalpana Patowary, who contested the polls on an AGP ticket, however, lost to sitting Congress MLA Jakir Hussain Sikdar in Sarukhetri.
Political analyst Rajan Pandey had said on Sunday that that the Congress bit the dust in Assam owing to its poor choice of candidates
“The BJP had also made mistakes in the first list, but the party corrected it in the second and the third. Their allies AGP and UPPL also did well, unlike Congress partners AIUDF and BPF,” he added. (PTI)