THE most interesting battle in Assam, where three constituencies go to polls Saturday, is expected to be for the Autonomous (ST) seat, which comprises the two hill districts of Karbi Anglong and Dima Hasao.
While the seat is considered a Congress bastion, four-time party MP and 72-year-old former union minister Biren Singh Engti has been facing non-cooperation from Congress legislators who have opposed his repeated nomination from the seat. The CPI (Marxist-Leninist) Liberation, however, which has won the seat four times, will look to win by fielding 39-year old Pratima Engheepi.
The BJP has made significant inroads in the constituency, attracting a number of Congress leaders to join the fold. The party has fielded Joyram Engleng, a former chief executive member of the Karbi Anglong Autonomous Council (KAAC) and former Congressman, against Engti.
Thirty-seven candidates are in the fray for the three seats that go to polls on Saturday. Apart from the Autonomous (ST) seat, Silchar, which was bagged by the BJP and Karimganj by the Congress in 2009, will go to polls.
While BJP MP Kabindra Purakayastha will battle Congress nominee Sushmita Dev to retain Silchar in a 17-cornered contest, Congress MP from Karimganj, Lalit Mohan Suklabaidya, will face 14 opponents, the most prominent being Krishna Das of the BJP.
Meanwhile, banned outfit Karbi People’s Liberation Tigers on Friday called off a bandh it had announced on Tuesday.