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Youth cornerstone for 80-year-old Handique

- Assam CM Tarun Gogoi backs veteran Congress leader, slams BJP at election rally near Sivasagar

Sivasagar, March 28: Seven-time MP of Upper Assam’s Jorhat Lok Sabha constituency Bijoy Krishna Handique may be nudging 80, but he is making youth the cornerstone of his campaign.

The veteran leader and sitting MP of the constituency, who was also a former Union cabinet minister, has undertaken various campaign measures to woo the youth.

Several bike rallies have been organised in different parts of the district as part of the election campaign.

Former minister and Amguri MLA Anjan Dutta, accompanied by Thowra MLA Susanta Borgohain, is spearheading Handique’s campaign in Sivasagar district. Dutta has already organised a huge bike rally in Amguri constituency.

Besides the two sitting MLAs, several other young Congress leaders of the district are campaigning for the veteran leader. Assam PCC member Kalyan Gogoi and Assam Pradesh Youth Congress general secretaries Subhramitra Gogoi and Prashanta Gogoi have been regularly conducting group meetings in different parts of the district. Handique has also been stressing on empowering the youths in his election speeches.

Speaking to this correspondent, Handique said he has been able to drum up support not only from youngsters, but also from the people of the constituency.

“Support of the youths is necessary for any candidate and I am able to get the support of the youth community, including women voters,” he said.

Handique had already faced competition from two youth leaders of the constituency for the party ticket. Samir Gogoi, son of Assembly Speaker Pranab Gogoi, had made a strong bid for it from the constituency.

After Samir Gogoi was denied a ticket, speculation was rife that supporters of Pranab Gogoi might not co-operate with Handique during the election campaign. This also led to conflict between the Pranab Gogoi and Anjan Dutta camps in Sivasagar district, with Anjan Dutta even declaring that he would seek the party ticket from Sivasagar Assembly constituency in 2016, which Pranab Gogoi’s younger son Pramir is eyeing.

However, the differences seem to have been settled with Pramir campaigning jointly with Handique’s daughter, Maitreyi Handique, at Amguri a few days back. Pramir was also present at the election rallies of Handique.

With nine days to go for the first phase of elections, chief minister Tarun Gogoi today openly declared that Handique would win convincingly from Jorhat. Addressing an election rally at Joyrapar, about 5km from Sivasagar, Gogoi came down heavily on the BJP and its prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi.

Around 198 members of the Sivasagar district committee of the AIUDF, led by district president Ghanashyam Hazarika and executive president Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, joined the Congress in today’s rally.