Assam election: Four sitting AGP MLAs denied tickets

Four sitting Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) MLAs in Assam, including former two-time chief minister Prafulla Kumar Mahanta, have been denied tickets to contest the upcoming assembly elections.

Apart from Mahanta, the AGP, an alliance partner of the ruling BJP, has decided not to give tickets to Lakhimpur MLA Utpal Dutta, Naharkatia MLA Naren Sonowal and Kamalpur MLA Satyabrata Kalita.

Mahanta has been winning from Barhampur seat consecutively for six terms since 1985.

The BJP has this time fielded Jitu Goswami in Barhampur constituency.

Similarly, the saffron party has also announced candidates in three other seats – Lakhimpur, Kamalpur and Naharkatiya. BJP’s three new faces – Manab Deka, Diganta Kalita and Taranga Gogoi – will contest from these three seats.

However, the regional party has got two seats – Raha and Chabua – won by the BJP in 2016. In 2016, the AGP contested 27 and won 14.

AGP president Atul Bora said this time the party would contest 26 seats.

Prafulla Kumar Mahanta who was undergoing treatment in Delhi returned to Guwahati on March 5. There is speculation that Mahanta might split the party into AGP (Progressive) and field candidates on 15 seats or even join the Congress-led grand alliance.

Of the 126 seats in Assam’s legislative assembly, 47 will go to the polls on March 27 in the first phase, voting on 39 will be held on April 1 in the second phase and 40 seats will go to the polls in the third and final phase on April 6. Counting will be held on May 2.

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