The party selected former city mayor Queen Ojha for Guwahati seat in place of former union minister and three-time MP Bijoya Chakravarty, while BJP state general secretary Dilip Saikia was nominated in place of two-time MP and the party's former state president Ramen Deka for Mangaldai constituency.
The BJP has dropped four sitting MPs of Assam and replaced them with fresh faces, including two ministers, to contest the upcoming Lok Sabha elections. Sitting MPs Bijoya Chakravarty, Ramen Deka and Kamakhya Prasad Tasa were not named in the party’s first list of candidates, while Ram Prasad Sarmah’s name did not figure in the second list.
The party selected former city mayor Queen Ojha for Guwahati seat in place of former union minister and three-time MP Bijoya Chakravarty, while BJP state general secretary Dilip Saikia was nominated in place of two-time MP and the party’s former state president Ramen Deka for Mangaldai constituency. Power Minister Topon Kumar Gogoi is contesting in Jorhat in place of sitting MP Kamakhya Prasad Tasa, while Labour, Employment and Tea Tribes Welfare Minister Pallab Lochan Das has been named as the candidate for Tezpur instead of Ram Prasad Sarmah.
Sharma in a Facebook post on March 16 had said, “I have left BJP today. I really feel pained in my heart for those old BJP workers of Assam who are most neglected in the Party by the new intruders in the Party”. Sharma’s candidature was at stake since his daughter’s arrest in connection with the Assam Public Service Commission (APSC) scam where she had earlier been selected as an Assam Police Service officer.
Nineteen Assam government officers, including Sharma’s daughter, were arrested in July last year in Guwahati as their handwriting did not match with that in their answer sheets in the APSC examination held in 2016. Meanwhile, state Congress spokesperson Apurba Bhattacharya claimed that the BJP dropped its sitting MPs as their performance in the Lok Sabha during the past five years was not up to the mark.
“Many of the BJP parliamentarians failed to utilise their share of funds sanctioned under the Member of Parliament Local Area Development (MPLAD) Scheme”, Bhattacharya alleged. “We are confident that the Congress will perform well under the leadership of Rahul Gandhi. We will win more seats than the BJP in Assam,” he added. Of the 14 Lok Sabha seats in Assam, seven are held by the BJP, three each by the Congress and the AIUDF, while one by an Independent. The three-phase Lok Sabha polls in Assam will be held on April 11, 18 and 23, while the results will be announced on May 23 along with the rest of the country.