The Gauhati elections: A ready reckoner

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The Gauhati elections: A ready reckoner

Saumya Mishra | April 13, 2019 15:01 hrs

The Gauhati Lok Sabha seat consists of 10 assembly segments and this time a total of 19 contestants have filed their nominations from this constituency.   
       
Some of the prominent names who are set to contest the Lok Sabha elections from the Gauhati seat include Bobbeeta Sharma from Congress, Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) Queen Ojha and Manoj Sharma from Trinamool Congress (TMC).

Additionally, Bharatiya Gana Parishad's Dr Avijit Chakraborty, independent candidate and lawyer Upamanyu Hazarika and Swarna Bharat Party's Pankaj Das have also filed their nominations.  

Gauhati constituency consists of 10 assembly segments including Dudhnoi (ST), Boko (SC), Chaygaon, Palasbari, Jalukbari, Dispur, Gauhati East, Gauhati West, Hajo and Barkhetry.

During the last Lok Sabha elections in 2014, Bijoya Chakravarty from BJP emerged victorious with 7,64,985 votes polled in her favour. Her nearest rival was Congress’s Manash Borah who bagged 4,49,201 votes. The All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF) and Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) 

candidates got 1,37,254 and 86,546 votes respectively in 2014. Further, 6,720 voters chose the NOTA (None of the above) option.

During the last Lok Sabha elections, a total of 15,11,729 voters turned up on the day of polling and the voter turnout was 78.64 per cent. On the other hand, as many as     19,22,270 electors were registered in 2014. 

Comparatively, as per the latest data available with the Election Commission, a total of 21,78,617 voters have been registered from Gauhati constituency. Out of this, 11,00,746 are male voters, 10,77,793 are female and 78 are third gender voters. 

Gauhati constituency is partially urban, as Guwahati city is also included in the segment. The SCs and STs constitute one-fifth of the total electorate. Further, Muslim voters constitute around four lakh of the population in the constituency.

In the history of Lok Sabha elections in Gauhati, the seat has never had a single predominant party sweeping the elections for consecutive years for a long time. 
   
Two-cornered contest

According to political analysts, this time the Gauhati seat will see a two-cornered fight from both the female candidates - Bobbeeta Sharma from Congress and Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) Queen Ojha. 
        
The Congress party announced Bobbeeta Sharma as its candidate to contest the Gauhati Lok Sabha (LS) seat for the Lok Sabha elections 2019 making the contest attention-grabbing in Guwahati as the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) had already fielded Queen Ojha who is also a prominent female politician of the city. 

“I will not make any promises because my work is my identity and it will speak for itself,” said Ojha at a recent election rally.
  
On asked why people should vote for her, Ojha said, “I have been working for the development of Assam for the past 40 years and my vision is to make Assam corruption-free. I have been a part of various organisations and have wide experience.” 
 
If money investment is to be taken as the key factor to win Lok Sabha elections, the contest will be exciting as both the candidates are well-known businesswomen of the city. 
Speaking of political backgrounds, Sharma, married into a known Congress family, contested the state legislative assembly elections of 2016 from Gauhati East constituency but was defeated by BJP minister Siddhartha Bhattacharya. 

Talking to G Plus Sharma said, “I have good intention in my heart to work for my state and I have some well-thought-out plans for the development of my constituency. Each constituency segment has its own unique scope for development.” She added that for instance, Hajo constituency has a potential to be developed into a tourism hub. She further said that most constituencies have certain common problems like flood and erosion.

“We have given many memorandums to the government of India to declare flood and erosion as a national problem. I would also like to take it up,” mentioned Sharma. 

As far as experience is concerned, Queen Ojha has more political experience than Sharma as she has been active as a politician since the days of the Assam Agitation. She later joined Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) and in 1996 became the Mayor of Guwahati after winning Guwahati Municipal Corporation elections.

Ojha also contested for legislative assembly in 2001 from Gauhati East constituency but was defeated by Congress candidate Captain Robin Bordoloi. Even Siddhartha Bhattacharya was defeated in the same year.
 
Ojha joined the BJP in 2014 and has now been fielded by the party for the Gauhati Lok Sabha seat.
 
Both the candidates have undergone the experience of losing legislative assembly elections from the same constituency (Gauhati East). 
However, apart from these two women candidates, the independent candidate Upamanyu Hazarika has also emerged as a strong contender from the Gauhati LS seat who can offer a tough competition. 

A senior advocate of the Supreme Court of India by profession, Hazarika is also the convener of the Prabajan Virodhi Manch. After filing his nomination papers, Hazarika said that he is contesting elections to fight for the rights of the indigenous people and also urged the people to vote for him in order to protect the identity of Assam. 

Hazarika told G Plus that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has “dashed out hopes and aspirations of the indigenous people.” 


Recent controversies 

More recently, Queen Ojha and Upamanyu Hazarika were in the news for different reasons. While Ojha was caught in the middle of a row over her educational qualification, Hazarika caught media attention when he used an empty BJP “office” for his own campaigning. 

Queen Ojha had come under scrutiny with regard to her educational qualifications. The Election Commission, on April 4, had decided to seek a report of the BJP candidate from concerned authorities for allegedly providing “false information” about her educational qualification in the affidavit.

Ojha had stated that her highest educational qualification is that of “Higher Secondary from Krishna Kanta Handiqui State Open University in 2011.” However, KKHSOU vice chancellor, Hitesh Deka, said that the institution does not offer any higher secondary or 12th grade course. 

Deka said that their university does not have such a course and no open university in the country offers higher secondary course. 

However, the VC informed that Ojha did a Bachelor Preparatory Programme (BPP) in 2011-12 and took admission in the degree course, but did not continue due to some personal reasons.
 
The BJP candidate, however, stood tall and said, “I have faith in myself, the people and the entire electoral process. I have not done anything wrong.”

However, Ojha came clean in the controversy after the concerned presiding officer declared her educational qualification, which was submitted along with her nomination, to be true. The declaration was made after proper scrutiny carried out by the officer.  
 
On the other hand, independent candidate Upamanyu Hazarika recently entered an empty BJP office in Guwahati and started campaigning from there. The video of him campaigning from the BJP office was widely shared on social media. 

Speaking during the occasion Hazarika said, “Just like this office, the promises made by BJP are also empty.”     

He also distributed pamphlets and urged people to vote for him in the ensuing Lok Sabha elections. After this, the BJP filed a police complaint against Hazarika for trespassing into the party office. They also claimed that certain important documents had gone missing.   
       
Bobbeeta Sharma 
Party- Indian National Congress
Age- 52 years
Total pending criminal cases- None 
Total number of cases in which convicted- None  
Total assets- Rs 3.48 crores (movable)
Immovable- 12 crores 
Total liabilities- 1.73 crores  
Occupation- Media professional and entrepreneurship 
Educational qualification- Masters of Arts 


Queen Ojha
Party- Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)
Age- 67 years
Total pending criminal cases- None 
Total number of cases in which convicted- None  
Total assets- Rs 8.12 crores (movable)
Immovable assets- Rs 1.29 crores 
Total liabilities- Rs 3.40 crores  
Occupation- Business 
Educational qualification- Bachelors preparatory programme  
 
Manoj Sharma
Party- All India Trinamool Congress (TMC)
Age- 45 years
Total pending criminal cases- Five 
Total number of cases in which convicted- None  
Total assets- Rs 57.77 lakhs (movable)
Immovable- NA
Total liabilities- Rs 18.33 lakhs 
Occupation- Business of car service 
Educational qualification- 10th pass
   
Dr Avijit Chakraborty
Party- Bharatiya Gana Parishad 
Age- 49 years
Total pending criminal cases- None
Total number of cases in which convicted- None  
Total assets- Rs 12.71 lakhs (movable)
Immovable- NA
Total liabilities- Nil
Occupation- Business  
Educational qualification- Doctor of Medicine in Compound Homeopathy   

Upamanyu Hazarika
Party- Independent 
Age- 53 years
Total pending criminal cases- None
Total number of cases in which convicted- None  
Total assets- Rs 2.86 crores (movable)
Immovable- Rs 83.53 lakhs 
Total liabilities- Rs 26.02 lakhs 
Occupation- Lawyer
Educational qualification- Bachelor of law (LLB)

TOTAL ASSETS

Candidate

Total assets (Rs)

Bobbeeta Sharma

15.48 crores

Queen Ojha

9.41 crores

Upamanyu Hazarika

3.69 crores

Avijit Chakraborty

12.71 lakhs

Manoj Sharma

57.77 lakhs

 

TOTAL LIABILITIES

 

Candidates

Total liabilities

Bobbeeta Sharma

1.73 crores 

Queen Ojha

3.40 crores 

 

Upamanyu Hazarika

26.02 lakhs

Avijit Chakraborty

Nil

Manoj Sharma

 18.33 lakhs

Comments (2) Post Comment
  • Sanjeev Sabhlok

    As a former IAS officer form Assam cadre I've helped form India's only liberal party, Swarna Bharat Party. We are delighted to have an excellent candidate in Pankaj Das for the people of Guwahati to consider. Please search the internet for SBP's manifesto and connect with Pankaj Das to ask him about details of why only liberalism can save India from continuing disaster.

  • Dibah

    多媒体不得好死