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BJP confident of sweeping polls in 4 autonomous councils
PRANJAL BHUYAN
 GUWAHATI, Jan 10 - Notwithstanding the largescale protest in the State against the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016, and the strains in the ruling alliance which led to the Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) parting ways with the BJP, the ruling party is confident of coming to power in all the four autonomous councils where elections are scheduled to be held later this month.

Senior State BJP leaders told this newspaper that the party is confident of sweeping the polls in the North Cachar Hills Autonomous Council (NCHAC), the Mising Autonomous Council (MAC), the Sonowal Kachari Autonomous Council (SKAC) and the Rabha Hasong Autonomous Council (RHAC).

While elections to the 28 constituencies of the NCHAC will be held on January 19, voting for the 36 general council constituencies of the MAC, the 26 general council constituencies of the SKAC and the 36 general council constituencies of the RHAC will take place on January 21.

While the BJP is contesting the NCHAC and the SKAC polls on its own, in the other two councils, the saffron party has entered into a seat-sharing arrangement with its local allies.

“We will contest the MAC polls by having a tie-up with the Ganashakti, while going for seat-sharing with the Rabha Joutha Sangram Samiti for the RHAC polls,” state BJP general secretary Dilip Saikia told The Assam Tribune.

Seat-sharing talks with the local allies for both the MAC and the RHAC elections have been completed by the BJP.

As per the arrangement, the BJP will put up candidates in three of the 36 general council constituencies of the RHAC, while its ally Rabha Joutha Sangram Samiti will contest the remaining 33 seats.

With regard to the MAC, Saikia said that while the seat-sharing talks are over, some technical issues still remain to be sorted out. “There may be friendly contest between our party and the Ganashakti is some constituencies of the MAC,” said Saikia.

He said that the ruling NDA will contest the elections for the four autonomous councils on the agenda of development.

“Besides, each community has certain specific problems and issues and our commitment would be to address those,” said Saikia.

Pulak Gohain, another general secretary of the state unit of the BJP, also said that the ruling alliance will win the elections to all the four autonomous councils. “We will make a clean sweep in the NCHAC polls. In the SKAC, we are confident of winning at least 24 out of the 26 seats. As far as the MAC and the RHAC are concerned, the BJP and our local allies are on the path to register a thumping win,” Gohain said.

He claimed that many autonomous councils in Assam had earned a bad name during the rule of the Congress Party.

“For example, the NCHAC had become synonymous with corruption, nepotism and mismanagement under Congress rule. However, since the BJP took over, people residing in the autonomous council areas have once more started believing that the institution can be a catalyst for development of their region and their respective communities. People know that only the BJP and the NDA can deliver,” Gohain said.

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