The Telegraph
Saturday , March 18 , 2017
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Congress finalises Dhemaji nominee

Guwahati, March 17: The Congress has declared Babul Sonowal as its candidate for the byelection to the Dhemaji Assembly seat on April 9.

AICC general secretary Madhusudan Mistry announced the name this evening through a communiqué after the name were cleared by party vice-president Rahul Gandhi.

The ruling BJP has submitted three names for the bypoll.

The byelection to the Assembly seat was necessitated after the election of the sitting BJP legislator, Pradan Baruah, as Lakhimpur Lok Sabha MP in November.

"Discussions are on and the names will be released before the last date of filing nomination on March 21," he said.

Earlier, PCC president Ripun Bora told The Telegraph from New Delhi that four names were submitted to the high command after a four-member team of observers submitted its report.

The observers' team had been sent after several members of the state election committee expressed reservations about only one name (Babul Sonowal) being put forward in the meeting.

Party insiders said the choice had earlier been narrowed down to Babul and Sailen Sonowal, a former BJP member. There had been "very few takers" for former MLA Sumitra Patir and two other women candidates.

The BJP's state election committee, which includes chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal and the party's state president, Ranjeet Kumar Dass, and other top leaders, met here today to discuss the names of probable candidates.

There is a possibility that the BJP may concede the Dhemaji seat to Gana Shakti lea-der Ranoj Pegu who may join the party before the bypoll.

The BJP had 15 ticket aspirants but the state election committee has sent three names to its parliamentary board for approval, a party official said.

Though a section of top BJP leaders are in favour of fielding Pegu because of his strong support base in the area, the six mandal committees under Dhemaji are opposed to the nomination of an outsider, even threatening to boycott the polls if their plea is not heard.

The state election committee also discussed issues related to the ensuing Karbi Anglong Autonomous Council polls to be held in April-May.

Dass and state general secretary (organisation) Phanindra Nath Sarma will visit Diphu in Karbi Anglong tomorrow to review the party's preparations for the polls.

The state election department has also constituted a control room-cum-complaint monitoring cell for the Dhemaji bypoll. People may contact the cell at 0361-2237030 for any election information, including complaints on violation of model code of conduct.

The cell will also coordinate with all the control rooms set up in Dhemaji district for the byelection.

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