Congress juggernaut decimates AGP, BJP in Assam (Roundup)

May 13th, 2011 - 9:28 pm ICT by IANS  

Bharatiya Janata Party Guwahati, May 13 (IANS) The Congress juggernaut decimated the opposition to smithereens by securing a majority by winning 78 of the 126 assembly seats in Assam with the wily 76-year-old Tarun Gogoi set to become the chief minister for the third straight term.

“I would say this thumping victory is a victory for good governance and development in the last 10 years of Congress rule in Assam,” a jubilant Gogoi told IANS in an interview flanked by his family.

“Bringing peace to Assam is also one of the main reasons for the confidence reposed in us by the voters of Assam.”

Gogoi won the Titabar seat defeating his nearest Ason Gana Parishad (AGP) rival by more than 55,000 votes.

The Congress won 78 seats, 25 more then it won in the 2006 assembly elections. The Bodoland People’s Party (BPF), an ally of the Congress, won 12 seats.

Gogoi and his new council of ministers are expected to be sworn-in May 19.

The two main opposition parties - the AGP and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) - were literally decimated. The AGP managed to win in just 10 seats, down from 24 in the 2006 polls, and the BJP in five seats, five less then what it got in the last assembly elections.

From 10 seats in the 2006 elections, the Asom United Democratic Front (AUDF) rose to become the main opposition party this time by winning 18 seats.

The Trinamool Congress won one seat and independents triumphed in two seats.

Meanwhile, there were celebrations across Assam in the Congress camp with victory processions being taken out and jubilant supporters and candidates bursting crackers and distributing sweets.

“I am grateful to the people of Assam for reposing faith in us for the third term,” Gogoi said.

But Assam’s beleaguered main opposition AGP blamed manipulation of electronic voting machines (EVM) by the Congress for the regional party’s rout in the assembly elections.

“We knew the Congress would do something and they did so by manipulating the EVMs. Otherwise such a result would not have come,” former chief minister and senior AGP leader Prafulla Kumar Mahanta told journalists.

Mahanta lost one of the two seats he contested - in Samaguri - to Forest Minister Rockybul Hussain but won in Barhampur defeating the Congress candidate.

“EVM’s were manipulated by the government machinery at the instance of the Congress,” former AGP president Brindaban Goswami said.

Goswami, who won from Tezpur the last four times, lost to the Congress.

Among the prominent losers include AGP president Chandra Mohan Patowary and BJP state president Ranjit Dutta - both losing to the Congress.

Patowary lost in Dharmapur to first time candidate Jayanta Malla Baruah by more than 5,000 votes, while Dutta lost to another first timer Pallab Lochan Das by more than 8,000 votes.

Nine women Congress candidates won, while at least 10 first timers, most of them youths, also trounced opposition heavyweights this time.

Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma won the election with a record margin of nearly 78,000 votes from Jalukbari.

“Development is one issue that the people of Assam voted us and we are grateful,” Sarma said.

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