People's trust, affection for Modi endure: BJP on Gujarat local poll win

GUWAHATI: The BJP, which heads Assam’s ruling coalition, favored continuity as it announced the final list of 17 candidates.Eight of the 17 seats in Guwahati and Lower Assam are currently held by the party and it fielded seven sitting MLAs.The only MLA to have missed the poll bus is Dipak Kumar Rabha (Dudhnai seat). Shyamjit Rabha of the Rabha Joutha Mancha, a tribe-based organization and ally of BJP, will contest from the seat but under the BJP’s symbol.As per the list, Industries and Commerce Minister Chandramohan Patowary (Dharmapur), Law and Justice Minister Siddhartha Bhattacharjee (Gauhati East), MLAs Ashok Singhi (Bilasipara East), Ashwini Rai Sarkar (Golakganj), Atul Bora (Dispur), Suman Haripriya (Hajo) and Narayan Deka (Barkhetry) are contesting from their respective constituencies.Earlier, speculations were rife that the BJP might choose Shantanu Bharali, who is the legal advisor to Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal, over Bhattacharjee.The BJP fielded Muslim candidates in Salmara South, Bilasipara West, Jaleswar, Jania and Baghbar, all of them in Lower Assam. They have sizeable Muslim populations and are considered the bastions of the Congress and the All India United Democratic Front.BJP sources said the Central leadership favored the candidates of party stalwart and Finance Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma over others.“Unlike in the 2016 elections, there are very few candidates with RSS background this time around. Also, workers, who have been with the party for a long time, were ignored,” a BJP source said.The BJP is contesting in 92 of the state’s 126 Assembly segments while AGP is contesting in 26 seats. Eight seats have been offered to the United People’s Party Liberal, the third component of the alliance, which holds sway in the Bodoland Territorial Region.