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Ajit Kumar Bhuyan, Bhubaneswar Kalita, Biswajit Daimary elected unopposed to Rajya Sabha

Nomination papers of all the three candidates were found valid during scrutiny on Monday

By A Staff Reporter in Guwahati
  • Published 19.03.20, 2:57 AM
  • Updated 19.03.20, 2:57 AM
  • 2 mins read
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Ajit Bhuyan receives the certificate after being elected to the Rajya Sabha from Assam in Guwahati on Wednesday. Picture by UB Photos

Senior journalist Ajit Kumar Bhuyan, former Congress veteran-turned-BJP leader Bhubaneswar Kalita and sitting Bodoland People’s Front (BPF) MP Biswajit Daimary were elected unopposed to the Rajya Sabha from Assam on Wednesday, the last date for withdrawal of nomination papers.

Nomination papers of all the three candidates were found valid during scrutiny on Monday.

Returning officer Amarendra Narayan Deka made the official announcement of the trio being elected to the Rajya Sabha as there were no candidates against them.

Bhuyan, who has been vocal against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), filed his nomination as an Independent candidate, backed by the Congress and the All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF).

The Election Commission had scheduled March 26 for election to fill up the three Rajya Sabha seats in Assam, which fall vacant on April 9.

With 87 members, including an Independent legislator, in the Assembly, the BJP and its alliance partners (BPF and AGP), were sure of winning two Rajya Sabha seats.

The third seat had drawn attention as the ruling BJP, BPF and AGP and the Opposition Congress and AIUDF were short of the required votes individually.

A number of names, mostly those who led the anti-CAA protests, including Bhuyan, were in circulation for the third seat. Later, Bhuyan filed the nomination papers and sought help from the Congress and the AIUDF.

Bhuyan, who also heads the citizen group Axom Nagarik Samaj, said the anti-CAA agitation would continue. He said everybody who was against the citizenship law, wished to have an anti-CAA leader in the Rajya Sabha. “The protest will now continue in Parliament and on the streets,” he said.

“I agreed to take support of the AIUDF to bring up the national issues of Assam with a common minimum agenda. The AIUDF supports the Assam Accord and the NRC. It is also against the contentious CAA, unlike the BJP, which supports the Act and pushed to change the cut-off date for detection and deportation of illegal foreigners mentioned in the Accord,” he said.

Kalita thanked Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Union home minister Amit Shah and BJP national president J.P. Nadda for nominating him to the Rajya Sabha and giving him an opportunity to “serve the nation as well as the state”.

Kalita said the raising of development of infrastructure in the state would be one of his priorities. “I will also work for realisation of the Centre’s Act East Policy. Besides, I am going to raise in the Parliament and work for solution of the pending and burning problems of the state,” Kalita said

Kalita was earlier elected to the Rajya Sabha on a Congress ticket. He, however, switched to the BJP after disagreement over the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill.

Bhuyan on Wednesday doubted whether the Centre would implement the report of the high-powered committee on Clause 6 of the Assam Accord. “If the report is implemented, the BJP’s votebank will be affected,” he said.

The committee submitted its report to chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal on February 25 but it was yet to be submitted to the Centre.

Additional reporting by Rokibuz Zaman