Candidate watch: Kumar Deepak Das
GUWAHATI: Kumar Deepak Das, a former Rajya Sabha MP from Asom Gana Parishad (AGP), has been fielded by the party to fight from the Barpeta Lok Sabha (LS) constituency.
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has left this seat for its pre-election ally AGP and has backed Das, who was previously seen vehemently opposing the controversial Citizenship (Amendment) Bill 2016, which the BJP has reiterated to implement if it is voted back to power.
Das is expected to face a tough fight from Congress’ Abdul Khaleque and AIUDF’s Rafiqul Islam in the third and last phase of the Lok Sabha election to be held in Assam on 23rd April.
While he was serving as a Rajya Sabha MP between the years 2007-2013, Das held the record of the highest standing number of questions of 16 hours and 53 minutes in record among his fellow MPs.
Das was also an MLA of Assam Legislative Assembly from 1985 to 1990.
Born in 1958 to late Ramoni Mohan Das, Deepak Das completed his LLB from Gauhati University Law College in 1986. He also holds a B Sc degree from M C College, Barpeta.
Married to Geetima Lekharu Das, Deepak Das has a daughter. The 66 year old politician is also an eminent writer, singer and an actor.
Performance in Rajya Sabha
During his tenure as a Rajya Sabha MP from Assam, Kumar Deepak Das recorded 91% attendance, which was 13% more than the national average of 78% and 9% more than the state average of 82%.
The data, which was published by PRS Legislative Research, also revealed that Das took part in 112 debates while serving as Rajya Sabha MP.
Among the issues raised by Das in Rajya Sabha, initiatives to control pollution of the Bharalu River, protection of wild life and the one-horned rhino in Assam, demanding bilateral deliberations with China for equitable utilization of the waters of Brahmaputra River, the issue of infiltration from Bangladesh border, and the flood problem in Assam gained prominence and attracted attention from other members of the House.
Das was also vocal about the update of the National Register of Citizens in Assam, deteriorating financial condition of Hindustan Paper Corporation, inclusion of the names of Assam and other northeastern states in the National Anthem and other issues during his tenure as Rajya Sabha MP.
As an MP, Das raised a total of 330 questions.
In the affidavit filed along with his nomination for the 2019 LS polls, Kumar Deepak Das revealed that he owns Rs 91.11 lakh worth of movable property, of which Rs 1.8 lakhs is cash; 60 grams or around Rs 1.50 lakhs worth of jewellery, bullion, and other valuable items.
He also owns two cars – one Toyota Innova and one Maruti Ritz.
Das further mentioned that he has no immovable assets registered against his name, while his wife Geetima has Rs 85 lakhs worth of immovable assets registered in her name.
The AGP candidate took a car loan of Rs 2.32 lakhs from State Bank of India. He also declared that he has one criminal case pending against him.
Barpeta LS constituency at a glance
Barpeta LS constituency, one of the 14 Lok Sabha constituencies in Assam, has remained a stronghold of the Congress Party.
Since 1951, only two parties including CPI (M) and AIUDF have been able to snatch the constituency from the hands of the Congress Party - twice by CPI (M) in 1996 and 1998 and by AIUDF in 2014.
AIUDF’s Sirajuddin Ajmal won the Muslim-majority seat in 2014, defeating BJP’s Chandra Mohan Patowary by over 4,000 votes. Congress’ Ismail Hussain, who represented the Barpeta LS seat in 2009, came third with only 2,77,802 votes.
This time, the constituency is set to witnesses a three-cornered fight between the Congress candidate who is also an MLA from Jania constituency, Abdul Khalek, AIUDF’s Hafiz Rafikul Islam and AGP’s Kumar Deepak Das.
The Barpeta LS constituency comprises ten assembly segments, Bongaigaon, Abhayapuri North, Abhayapuri South (SC), Patacharkuchi, Barpeta, Jania, Baghbar, Sorukhetri, Chenga and Dharmapur.
The constituency has a total of 2,188 polling stations, and 16,76,854 electors, of whom 8,65,300 are male, 8,11,538 female and 16 belong to the third gender category.