Former top cop, ex ultras face-off in Kokrajhar
A former top cop, two former militants, one outgoing and one former parliamentarian and a top advocate - the contest for the Kokrajhar Lok Sabha constituency in Assam has the ingredients for a close fight and interesting results.
Former NSG chief and ex-Meghalaya governor RS Mooshahary is pitted against two former militants - incumbent state Cabinet minister Chandan Brahma, a former BLT leader, and former hardcore ULFA 'commander' Naba Kumar Sarania alias Hira Sarania.
While Mr Mooshahary is contesting as a AITC nominee, Mr Brahma is the candidate of Bodoland People's Front (BPF), which is the Congress ally in Dispur and heads the Bodoland Territorial Council (BTC) and Mr Sarania is an Independent candidate backed by non-Bodo organisations.
Sitting Kokrajhar Lok Sabha member Sansuma Khunggur Bwiswmuthiary, who has won all four Lok Sabha polls in Kokrajhar from 1998, is contesting as an Independent candidate after the BPF denied him a ticket this time.
Another former parliamentarian, Urkhaw Gwra Brahma is another Independent candidate in the fray, with the support of several non-BPF parties.
Completing the candidates' list in the constituency is Sabda Rabha as an Independent, who is among the well-known advocates in the state and has been representing NDFB leaders in the courts.
While the BPF may appear favourite to retain the seat, it may not prove to be a cakewalk for the party, especially with strong anti-Bodo as well as anti-BPF sentiments reportedly doing the rounds in the areas.
The Congress has not fielded any candidate in the constituency as a gesture towards its ally BPF.
The AGP and BJP have also refrained from contesting the seat.
Kokrajhar Lok Sabha constituency is composed of 10 Assembly segments, of which eight segments are represented by the BPF in the state Assembly and one each by the BJP and AIUDF.
There are total 7,72,594 general voters in the constituency in 2049 polling stations.
The constituency goes to the polls in the third and final phase of polling in the state on April 24.
(Posted on 22-04-2014)