Post Tarun Gogoi, can Congress retain prestigious Titabor?

The Congress party has fielded a new name from the prestigious Titabor constituency for the Assam assembly elections.

Congress’s Bhaskarjyoti Barua will contest from Titabor seat, which was held by former chief minister Tarun Gogoi since 2001.

The ruling BJP will look to punch a hole in the Congress citadel as the grand old party tries to retain the prestigious seat through Bhaskarjyoti Barua.

Tatun Gogoi, Assam’s longest-serving chief minister and who was awarded ‘Padma Bhushan’ by the BJP government for the “exceptional and distinguished service in the field of public affairs”, passed away last year at the age of 86.

Earlier, there was speculation that Tarun Gogoi’s son and Congress deputy leader in Lok Sabha Gaurav Gogoi will contest from Titabor.

“Whatever happens, sympathy votes will be there. Even the BJP government has acknowledged his (Tarun Gogoi’s) contribution to the people of Assam. His influence in the voters will certainly be there but a lot of will depends on the candidate as well,” a Congress insider from Jorhat said.

Congress leaders also said the party provided tickets to the candidate based on the decision of Gogoi’s family and BJP “will not be able to wrest” the Titabar seat from the Congress in the absence of Tarun Gogoi.

“The emotions of people of Titabor are still engaged with Tarun Gogoi and therefore we will go by the decision of Gogoi’s family. The emotional relationship of the people of Titabar with Tarun Gogoi was immense. People of Titabar are in a state of shock. BJP will not be able to do anything,” a senior Congress leader said.

Titabor has 1,54,540 voters. For Congress, the solace would be that in 2001, Tarun Gogoi had defeated his nearest rival Hemanta Kalita from the AGP by a huge margin of 45,250 votes. In 2006, Tarun Gogoi had defeated his nearest rival Kula Das by 42,501 votes. Gogoi had won against BJP’s Kamakhya Prasad Tasa in 2016 while he had defeated AGP’s Montu Moni Dutta by a margin of over 54,000 in 2011.

It is clear that Titabor, located in Upper Assam’s Jorhat district and being the former chief minister’s seat for the last 15 years, will witness one of the most high-stake contests between the Congress and the BJP this time.

BJP’s candidate Hemanta Kalita is banking on BJP’s development and beneficiary scheme.

“It would have been different if Tarun Gogoi was alive. But this time he is not there and there was also no activity in the organization level from the Congress,” a confident Kalita said, adding Gogoi’s absence will definitely help BJP.

A graduate from JB College Jorhat, Kalita, was elected to Assam Legislative Assembly in 1996 on AGP tickets and had joined the BJP in 2015.

“Tarun Gogoi represented for 15 years and became the chief minister for which he has a positive image here. But that positive image doesn’t imply that people will vote for the Congress. We have worked during the Covid fight and people know whom to fight,” Kalita said.

Titabor goes to polls on March 27 in the first phase of Assam election.

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