| Gautam Roy celebrates his wife Mandira’s victory in the bypoll. Pciture by UB Photos |
Silchar/Guwahati, Feb. 28: The ruling Congress today regained the Algapur Assembly seat in Hailakandi district but the outcome yet again reflected the growing influence of the AIUDF in Assam politics.
Mandira Roy, Congress candidate and wife of senior cabinet minister Gautam Roy, defeated her nearest rival, AIUDF’s Mehbubul Hasan Laskar by 915 votes.
District election officer J. Balaji told The Telegraph that Roy got 52,814 votes and Laskar obtained 51,899 votes. “Of the other recognised parties, AGP’s Kamrul Islam Choudhury polled only 933 votes while BJP’s Sashadhar Pal 2,742 votes. There were 12 candidates in the fray,” Balaji said.
The bypoll was necessitated following the death of five-time AGP legislator Sahidul Alam Choudhary on November 20.
The suspense-filled counting saw Mandira trailing by over 22,000 votes after the ninth round of counting.
She not only overcame the deficit but also surged ahead, sweeping the votes in the 45 polling stations at Cachar district adjoining Hailakandi.
Rajiv Bhawan sources in Guwahati said Gautam Roy told party colleagues that he was sure of a victory even after the huge deficit.
Soon after the victory, Roy threw a party for colleagues in Guwahati. It was sweet revenge for Roy, whose son Rahul, a sitting MLA, had lost to Choudhury in the 2011 Assembly elections.
“All along he (Gautam) was confident of victory. He had requested both the AICC and the PCC not to send any leader for campaigning, asking only for PWD minister Ajanta Neog to visit Algapur to show her the poor condition of the roads — and to the voter that he was pushing hard to fix things,” a PCC general secretary said.
The PCC leader, however, said though Congress has wrested the seat and taken its own tally to 59 in the Assembly, it has to seriously devise a plan to tackle the AIUDF which is growing in strength, evident from the panchayat polls where it finished second to the Congress.
The AIUDF, while accepting the people’s verdict, said it was a “moral victory” for the party at Algapur.
“The constituency was very unfamiliar to us as we had not fielded any candidate in the last Assembly poll,” Haidor Hussain Bora, the AIUDF’s media secretary, said.
AGP publicity secretary Manoj Saikia said the party top brass would sit with the district committee leaders and the defeated party candidate to find out the reasons for the defeat. Saikia said Choudhury’s demise has considerably weakened the party in Algapur.