Congress wins both Rajya Sabha seats from Assam


Guwahati : In a major setback for the united opposition in Assam, the Congress Friday won both the Rajya Sabha seats after 11 opposition legislators, including three independents, voted for the ruling party’s second preference candidate.

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The Congress fielded two candidates – Silvious Condpan being the second preference candidate while Nazneen Farooq was the first choice. Both won the seats as results were announced late Friday.

The Asom Gana Parishad (AGP), the Bharatiya Janata Party, and the Asom United Democratic Front (AUDF) had fielded just one candidate – Jayanta Baruah, owner of the mass circulated Asomiya Pratidin newspaper.

Voting for the two Rajya Sabha polls in Assam began in the morning amid charges and counter charges of horse trading.

The opposition camp got a setback with at least 11 legislators – two from the AUDF, four from the BJP, one each from the Autonomous State Demand Committee (ASDC) and AGP and three independents – voting against its common candidate.

“The opposition candidate got 40 votes, while the Congress first preference candidate polled 43 votes and the second preference candidate received 42 votes. Social Welfare Minister Akon Bora’s vote was cancelled on technical grounds,” an assembly official said.

There are 126 members in the Assam assembly.

“It is a historic win for the Congress as we did not have the required numbers for the second seat but still won. I am thankful to all the Congress legislators as well as opposition MLAs who helped us in creating history. That shows the tremendous support base of the Congress,” said Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi immediately after the ruling Congress won both the seats.

Meanwhile, the Opposition has termed the defeat as a slur on democracy.

“The Congress indulged in horse trading and purchased our MLAs by giving money. The victory for the Congress is nothing but murder of democracy,” AGP president Chandra Mohan Patowary said.

Meanwhile, the BJP Friday suspended four of their legislators – Rumi Nath, Abhijit Hazarika, Kartic Sen, and Shiv S. Mallah – on charges of anti-party activities.