Guwahati: Stung by a series of election debacles and amid speculations of dissent within the legislators of the party of late, the Opposition Congress in Assam is now looking to make amends and recover lost ground in the Karbi Anglong Autonomous Council (KAAC) polls to be conducted on June 8 next.

On Friday, the Assam Pradesh Congress Committee (APCC) announced that it would go for a solo contest in all the 26 constituencies of KAAC, which is spread across Karbi Anglong and West Karbi Anglong.

Addressing a media conference at the party headquarters here, APCC working president Rana Goswami announced the names of candidates for 22 constituencies, while keeping the names of the four others pending for now.

“The party leadership and members have nominated 22 candidates after assessing the report of the screening committee and interacting with local leaders and residents during visits by APCC members to Karbi Anglong, besides holding a series of threadbare discussions among senior leaders and members across mandals, blocks, districts and other units of the party,” Goswami said.

The candidates nominated are Bijoy Teron (Duar Amla constituency); Jennyson Teron (Amri); Rupsing Bongrung (Chinthong); Sing Teron (Rongkhang); Kengbura Hanse (Bithung); Kareng Phangchopi (Kopili); Rupesh Bey (Hamren); Alice Engtipi (Ameng); Chandra Singh Teron (Hawraghat); Purnima Ranghangpi (Langpher); Dorsing Singnar (Phuloni); Rijendra Basumatary (Langhin); Sarjeng Engti (Kokanthi); Bidya Sing Rongpi (Mahamaya); Ashok Teron (Namati); Rajesh Timung (Socheng Dhengta); Ratul Teron (Lumbajong); Pradip Singnar (Singhason); Surendra Singnar (Borjan); Joysom Jeshing Rengma (Deopani); Samson Ingti (Nilip) and Rajen Engti (Duar Bagori).

“The names of four candidates for the remaining constituencies – Bokajan, Sarupathar, Dhansiri and Socheng – have been kept pending for now and will be announced shortly,” Goswami said.

Seventeen constituencies are in Karbi Anglong while nine are in West Karbi Anglong.

“We are not opting for any pre-poll alliance and are looking to contest all the 26 seats alone. The party is geared up to put up a tough fight. We hope that with the support of the voters we can eventually form the council,” he added.

Amid speculations in a section of the media about dissidence in the party, AICC general secretary in-charge of Assam, Jitendra Singh, who was in the city to chair meetings on the party’s organisational elections, ruled out any change in the state Congress leadership, categorically stating that the AICC wants Bhupen Kumar Borah “to remain the Assam Pradesh Congress Committee (APCC) president. So he will remain as the APCC president”.

It may be mentioned that some Congress MLAs, including deputy CLP leader Rakibul Hussain, had a closed-door meeting at a time when Borah and a few others were in Udaipur (Rajasthan) to attend AICC’s “Chintan Shivir”.

Later, some MLAs had said the meeting discussed ways to strengthen the party even as some indirectly held the state PCC president accountable for not consulting or taking MLAs into confidence while selecting district presidents.

Eight district presidents were appointed by the state Congress recently.

The PCC president, on the other hand, said that there could be allegations and counter allegations against anyone, let alone the party chief.

“The prime objective of the party now is to strengthen the party’s organisational base and actively play the role of the principal Opposition party to keep the incumbent government honest in its commitments to the people,” Borah said. 

Political analysts have pointed out that the prime reason for the Congress’ downfall in recent years has been the apparent internal squabbling in its camp and apparent lack of direction. 

Many senior MLAs and members have left the party since the Assembly poll debacle last year, and even prior to the poll in the year before.  

The party’s failure to win a single ward in the recently-concluded Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) elections made matters worse after debacles suffered in the Assembly, bypolls and Rajya Sabha poll.

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