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‘Grandma’ betters tally

- 74-year-old bijoya chakravarty wins by 3 lakh votes in gauhati

Guwahati, May 16: The “grandma” had the last laugh today in Gauhati Lok Sabha constituency defeating the “grandson” by over 3 lakh votes.

The 74-year-old BJP candidate Bijoya Chakravarty, whom Congress candidate Manash Bora, 32, had described as “grandma” on the eve of the Lok Sabha polls, managed to retain the Gauhati seat by polling 7,64,985 votes.

Manash, son of Assam social welfare minister Akon Bora, who was selected by the Congress as its candidate when he won under Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi’s pilot project of holding primaries to select nominees, had to contend with the second position, getting 4,49,201 votes. The project was taken up in 15 constituencies across the country.

Chakravarty was jubilant with the mandate and thanked voters for giving her another chance. She said she would request soon-to-be Prime Minister Narendra Modi to reduce the price of essential commodities. “People have voted for me with some expectations. That is why I am already thinking about what I will do for them. But the first request I will make to Modiji is to reduce the prices of essential commodities,” she said.

Euphoria had erupted among party members and supporters at the BJP head office here, when the counting trend this morning revealed her impending success. The Congress, on the other hand, organised a Shiva puja on the Rajiv Bhavan premises seeking blessings.

Altogether 18 candidates were in the fray for the Gauhati seat, including veteran actor Biju Phukan, who fought on a Trinamul Congress ticket, and one of the most active MPs from Assam and AGP candidate Birendra Prasad Baishya. In 2009, Bijoya had defeated senior Congress leader Robin Bordoloi by 1,18,55 votes. Till now, the BJP has won the Gauhati Lok Sabha seats thrice when Chakravarty contested as the party candidate, showing she knows how to find a place in the hearts of the voters.

In 2004, the BJP had replaced her with late singer Bhupen Hazarika, only to lose the constituency to Congress candidate Kirip Chaliha.

AIUDF candidate Gopi Nath Das secured the third position by polling 1,37,254 votes. The party’s position has not changed from 2009 although it has succeeded to get more votes than last time.

Baishya, on whom AGP had pinned some hope for his active role in Parliament, including his latest success in foiling the UPA government’s effort to introduce the land-swap bill in the Lok Sabha, finished in fourth place. The campaign by Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti (KMSS) to support Baishya did not have much of an impact.

Phukan and AAP candidate Pranjal Bordoloi received 8,162 and 4,809 votes respectively. Altogether, 6,720 voters exercised the None of the Above (NOTA) option.