The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Move to field Bhupen

Guwahati, Jan. 28: The Trinamool Gana Parishad (TGP) today made a case for an all-party consensus on fielding culture icon Bhupen Hazarika as an Independent candidate for the Guwahati Lok Sabha seat to remind Delhi that it erred in not recommending his nomination to the Rajya Sabha last year.

TGP general secretary Atul Bora said he met Hazarika at his residence yesterday and requested him to contest the Guwahati Lok Sabha seat, but could not confirm whether the singer-composer-filmmaker warmed up to the proposal. Hazarika was not available for comment. An aide said he was “busy recording” and might issue a statement only tomorrow.

Hazarika’s omission from the list of presidential nominees to the Rajya Sabha prompted an outpouring of anger in his home state. The All-Assam Students Union led the protests, describing Delhi’s decision as an “insult” to the people of the state.

The music maestro was ostensibly in the first list of prospective nominees.

Bora urged all political parties to support Hazarika, saying the Lok Sabha poll was an opportunity for everyone in Assam to give “a befitting reply to the Centre for not making Hazarika a presidential nominee to the Rajya Sabha”.

The former minister said all political parties agreed that Hazarika deserved to be nominated to the Rajya Sabha and there was no reason for anybody to object to the proposal to back him as an Independent candidate for the Guwahati Lok Sabha seat.

“Guwahati being the gateway to the Northeast, Hazarika will make the most ideal representative of this constituency. Being an Independent candidate, he will also be able to lead the MPs from the Northeast in highlighting the burning problems of the region,” Bora, who was previously with the Asom Gana Parishad (AGP), said.

Finding itself at the receiving end of public anger in the wake of Hazarika’s omission from the list of Rajya Sabha nominees, the state unit of the BJP had suggested that all political parties of the state take a stand on this and unanimously elect him to the Upper House.

The ruling Congress, however, contended that it would be “another insult” to the living legend. “The issue is not about him being in the Rajya Sabha, but the honour attached to a presidential nominee, which cannot be equated with a general state representative to the Upper House,” it said.

The AGP central executive then offered to field Hazarika as its candidate for the Rajya Sabha, but he declined to be a representative of any political party.

A source said Bora might call on Hazarika tomorrow “for another meeting on the subject”. Hazarika’s aide, however, said the meeting would be possible only if the maestro was not preoccupied with song recordings.

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