Monday, 30th October 2017

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More seats for BJP in Assam, unchanged vote share

Soul search by parties after poll outcome

By Rajiv Konwar in Guwahati
  • Published 25.05.19, 4:12 AM
  • Updated 25.05.19, 4:12 AM
  • 2 mins read
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BJP supporters take out a victory rally in Tezpur on Friday. Picture by UB Photos

The ruling BJP has made a gain of two seats over its 2014 Lok Sabha tally in Assam despite a marginal dip in its vote share. But there was no such gain for the Opposition Congress despite getting six per cent more votes than five years ago.

The total votes polled by the BJP was 64,84,596 as against 63,73,659 by the Congress. The BJP, which had won seven of the 14 seats in 2014 by getting 36.5 per cent of the total votes polled, won nine seats this time despite getting 36.05 per cent votes.

The party won Dibrugarh, Lakhimpur, Jorhat, Gauhati, Tezpur, Mangaldoi, Silchar, Karimganj and the Autonomous District seats. The BJP, however, could not retain Nagaon, which it had won in 2014.

The ruling party won 14 of the 24 seats in the Northeast, almost double its tally in 2014. It won both seats in Tripura, Arunachal Pradesh and one in Manipur.

On the other hand, the Congress’ vote share increased to 35.44 per cent from 29.6 per cent in 2014 but its seat share remained static at three, the same as in 2014. It retained the Kaliabor seat and won Barpeta and Nowgong. The Opposition party lost Silchar and Diphu, two of the three seats it had won despite the Modi wave in 2014.

The maximum vote margin was recorded in Dibrugarh where the BJP candidate Rameswar Teli defeated its Congress rival Paban Singh Ghatowar by a whopping margin margin of 3.64 lakh votes.

Assam PCC president Ripun Bora on Thursday described the party’s result as “dismal” but thanked the people for reposing faith in it and party workers for their dedication during the election.

Bora said he has sent a letter to AICC president Rahul Gandhi on Thursday itself, taking responsibility for the party’s performance in Assam. Gandhi had similarly taken responsibility for the party’s overall performance, marginally improving upon its 2014 figure.

“From a national perspective if we analyse the performance of Congress it is quite good in Assam. While the party has drawn a blank in 17 states, we won three seats, including regaining Nowgong after 20 years,” he said.

AICC secretary in-charge of Nagaland and former state minister Pradyut Bordoloi won the Nowgong seat by 16,752 votes against debutant Rupak Sharma who was fielded in place of veteran Rajen Gohain who had won the seat four times since 1999.

“In 2014 we had our government at the Centre and the state and we won in three.

This time we did not have our government either at the Centre or Dispur, but still we managed to win three seats,” Bora said.

BJP’s alliance partner Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) had fought in three constituencies — Barpeta, Dhubri and Kaliabor — but drew a blank although it received 8.2 per cent got (14,80,697) votes.

All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF) was the major loser in terms of vote share and seat. It received 7.8 per cent votes and won only one seat as against 14.8 per cent votes and three seats in 2014. Badruddin Ajmal was the AIUDF’s lone winner.

AIUDF general secretary Aminul Islam said, “While the minority vote got split between the Congress and the AIUDF, the Hindu votes remained intact and with BJP.”

Bora, however, said a large number of Hindus voted for the Congress, “Otherwise, it would have not been possible for our candidate to win in Barpeta.” Barpeta is a minority dominated constituency, won by the AIUDF in 2014.

The total votes received and vote shares of some other parties are: AITC 74,522 (0.4 per cent), CPI 31,227 (0.17 per cent) and CPM 40,937 (0.23 per cent). Trinamul Congress drew a blank in Assam. Altogether 1,78,353 (0.99 per cent) people opted for NOTA.