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BPF upbeat on poll chances

Guwahati, Jan. 29: A day after Opposition parties joined ranks to back Independent candidate and senior journalist Haidar Hussain for the ensuing Rajya Sabha election in Assam, the Bodo Peoples’ Front candidate Biswajit Daimary appeared confident of victory.

Daimary told reporters at the Assam Assembly here this morning that his win in the Rajya Sabha election scheduled for February 7 was certain and that Hussain’s entry into the fray would not have much impact his prospects.

“I have been told by the Congress leadership that I am among the first two candidates they would vote for. Therefore, I am sure of victory,” Daimary said.

However, the entry of Hussain, a former editor, in the poll race has directly pitted him against Hussain.

Though backed by the ruling Congress, the BPF technically does not have the numbers to see through Daimary, if the Opposition remains united.

The Congress had planned to ensure the victories of its two candidates — Bhubaneswar Kalita and Sanjay Singh — along with that of Biswajit Daimary, by transferring its excess votes to the BPF kitty.

But its plans were upset once the AICC fielded “outsider” Sanjay Singh as one of the two candidates.

A candidate will need 32 votes to win in the 126-member House.

The Congress (79) and the BPF (12) combine with two Independents has 93 votes — three votes short to win all the three seats, even if the alliance decides to do away with the two-vote cushion it had planned before the AIUDF (18), AGP (9) and BJP (5) joined hands to field Hussain.

The Congress top brass, however, appeared confident of winning all three seats.

Assam chief minister Tarun Gogoi’s body language before leaving for Delhi this morning for the screening committee meeting to finalise candidates for the Lok Sabha seats suggested as much.

Cabinet colleagues Himanta Biswa Sarma and Rakibul Hussain accompanied Gogoi on the trip.

The trio had some discussions and all appeared to be in a jovial mood, according to a Congress insider.

BJP legislator Prasant Phukan said they, too, were confident of Haidar Hussain’s victory but added for good measure: “But can we keep an eye on everybody and say what is cooking in someone’s else’s mind? Our party is with Hussain and I am confident others are also thinking along similar lines.”

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