Dibrugarh Lok Sabha Constituency In Assam To Witness A Keen Contest - Eastern Mirror
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Dibrugarh Lok Sabha constituency in Assam to witness a keen contest

6092
By PTI Updated: Apr 14, 2024 12:06 pm
Dibrugarh Lok Sabha constituency in Assam to witness a keen contest
**EDS: IMAGE VIA @AtishiAAP** Tinsukia: Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader Atishi with party candidate from Dibrugarh constituency Manoj Dhanowar during a roadshow ahead of the Lok Sabha polls, in Tinsukia, Tuesday, April 9, 2024. (PTI Photo)(PTI04_09_2024_000318B)

DIBRUGARH — Bestowed with lush tea gardens, rich natural resources like oil, gas and coal and a diverse electorate, the Dibrugarh Lok Sabha constituency in Assam will witness a close contest between three candidates – Sarbananda Sonowal, Lurinjyoti Gogoi and Manoj Dhanowar.

The BJP may claim its candidate, Sonowal, will win by a huge margin but the opposition-supported Lurinjyoti Gogoi is putting up a tough fight and the Aam Aadmi Party’s (AAP) Manoj Dhanowar is also not lagging behind.

Dibrugarh is considered one of the most economically important constituency in the state with the highest number of tea gardens, oil and gas public sector undertakings, fertilizers, petrochemicals, gas cracker plant and coal fields.

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It has a diverse population with the predominant being the Assamese, comprising Ahoms, Morans, Chutias, Muttocks, Sonowal-Kacharis, Mishings and the general caste, followed by tea tribes, Hindu Bengalis, Assamese Muslims, Christians and Buddhists.

The candidates and their supporters are going all out to woo the over 16.50 lakh electorate, with women marginally outnumbering the male voters, in the ten assembly segments of the constituency going to polls in the first phase on April 19.

“We are focusing on development initiated during the last 10 years by Prime Minister Narendra Modi for the region – particularly the completion of the Bogibeel and the Dhola-Sadiya bridge which has led to immense potentialities in my constituency”, Sonowal told PTI while campaigning in different areas spread over the two districts of Tinsukia and Dibrugarh.

The connectivity – whether it be roadways, railways, waterways or airways – in the constituency has been enhanced to a great extent, helping not only in its economic development but also in opening up the minds of the younger generation who are adopting new ways for adapting to changing times, the Union Minister for Shipping, Ports, Waterways and Ayush said.

Countering Sonowal’s claim, the opposition-supported candidate Lurinjyoti Gogoi told PTI that the ruling BJP has “always neglected” the people of Assam and that the so-called development is merely cosmetic.

“The biggest betrayal of the BJP government is the implementation of the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) even when the indigenous people of Assam had protested against it but they are continuing to burden the state with additional foreigners”, Gogoi, who belongs to the Ahom community, said.

The utter disregard by the BJP for the Assam Accord and the demand for scheduled tribe status of the people of the six communities-Tai Ahom, Chutia, Adivasis or the tea tribes, Moran, Muttock and Koch-Rajbongshis, of which five have a sizeable population in the constituency have resonated negatively and they are very dissatisfied with the ruling party, he claimed.

AAP candidate Manoj Dhanowar, son of eight-time Congress MLA and former minister Rameshwar Dhanowar, is a member of the tea community and is banking on their votes which the other two contestants also claim are in their favour.

The tea garden workers, comprising over 30 per cent of the electorate, were loyal to the Congress since independence till 2014 when they shifted their allegiance to the BJP with the sitting MP and Union Minister Rameswar Teli hailing from this community.

Sonowal, a member of the Sonowal-Kachari community, alleged that for Congress the tea workers were only a vote bank and they did nothing for their uplift but the BJP has provided them with higher wages, model schools, hospitals, ambulances, houses under PM Awas Yojana, among others.

Both Gogoi and Dhanowar, however, criticised the BJP for enhancing the wages of the tea garden workers to INR 251 only and not to INR 350 as promised.

“The BJP only makes false promises and goes back on these when they are elected. Our party will ensure that the workers are given INR 450 as wages like the workers in Kerala and Tamil Nadu”, the AAP candidate said.

Regarding the high number of women voters in the constituency, Gogoi said that the BJP has only announced schemes for them but for every woman receiving benefit, at least five to six of them have been denied the same.

Sonowal, however, asserted that women empowerment is one of the pillars of development of the BJP and they are being provided all support to become productive and contribute to the economy.

Dibrugarh is also an educational hub with a University and a Medical College along with several other educational institutions and a high literacy rate of over 75 per cent.

Among the candidates, Sonowal has a law and journalism degree, Gogoi is a post-graduate in mathematics and Dhanowar is an engineer.

Dibrugarh was a traditional Congress bastion since independence till 2004 when Sonowal created history by wresting the seat as an Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) candidate from four-time Congress MP Paban Singh Ghatowar but lost to him again in 2009.

Teli, a minister in Modi’s outgoing cabinet, had won the seat for two consecutive terms since 2014 but was replaced by Sonowal as a contestant in the ensuing polls.

6092
By PTI Updated: Apr 14, 2024 12:06:17 pm
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