» Election » Congress bags 13 seats in north-east

Congress bags 13 seats in north-east

By K Anurag in Guwahati
May 16, 2009 19:57 IST
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The Congress has won 13 out of the 24 Lok Sabha seats spread over the seven north-eastern states of Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya, Manipur, Tripura, Nagaland and Mizoram, while its rival the Bharatiya Janata Party gained from its seat-sharing pact in Assam where the Assam United Democratic Front has emerged as a major political force in this election.

The Congress has won seven seats out of the 14 in Assam compared to the nine it won in 2004, while the BJP managed to improve its tally to four compared to two seats it won in 2004 from the state. The AGP has won only one seat, losing two others it had held. The AUDF, an amalgamation of a dozen minority political groups, won only one seat in Assam while it ensured the defeat of Congress candidates in three other constituencies by eating into their vote bank among Muslims.

AUDF president and perfume mogul Badaruddin Ajmal won from Dhubri defeating his nearest Congress rival Anwar Hussain by a margin of over 1.6 lakh votes. For the AUDF, which was formed in 2006, it would be his maiden entry into the Lok Sabha. The emergence of the party in Silchar, Guwahati and Mangaldoi constituencies as a major force has cost the Congress dear.

Union Heavy Industries Minister and Congress veteran Santosh Mohan Deb lost to the BJP's Kabindra Purkayasthya in Silchar constituency where the AUDF candidate emerged second in the race by eating into the Congresss' Muslim votes.

The Congress, however, snatched the Dibrugarh and Lakhimpur constituencies from the AGP and retained Jorhat, Kaliabor, Autonomous Constituency, Barpeta, Karimganj. Congress ally and United Progressive Alliance constituent the Bodoland People's Front candidate S K Bwismutiary won in Kokrajhar constituency, taking the UPA's tally to eight in Assam.

The AGP managed to win only in Tezpur where its candidate Joseph Toppo defeated three-time Congress MP Mani Kumar Subba. Both the AGP MPs, Sarbananda Sonowal and Dr Arun Sharma, lost to Congress rivals in Dibrugarh and Lakhimpur.

The BJP has gained much from of its seat-sharing pact with the AGP as it won four seats this time, compared to its two seats in 2004. The party snatched Guwahati and Silchar from the Congress, and retained Nagaon and Mangaldoi.

Elsewhere in the north-east the Congress won two seats each in Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh, the lone seats in Mizoram and Meghalaya. The Nationalist Congress Party won one seat in Meghalaya, the Left Front won both the seats in Tripura, while the Nagaland People's Front won the lone seat in Nagaland.

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K Anurag in Guwahati