GUWAHATI, March 30 (PTI): On the eve of election to two Rajya Sabha seats in Assam, the Opposition led by Congress on Wednesday asserted that its joint candidate will win comfortably.
Outgoing Rajya Sabha MP and former state Congress president Ripun Bora is seeking re-election as the Opposition parties’ joint candidate for the lone seat that they are contesting.
Addressing a press conference, leader of Opposition Debabrata Saikia said, “We want to iterate that we have full support of 43 MLAs and our candidate will emerge victorious.”
In the 126-member state Assembly, there are 27 MLAs from the Congress, 15 from AIUDF and one from the CPI(M) while there is an Independent legislator (of Raijor Dal).
Out of Congress’s 27 MLAs, one MLA, Sashi Kanta Das, who had been suspended, has promised to support the rival NDA’s candidates for the RS elections.
Voting will take place from 9 am to 4 pm on Thursday and counting will be held the same day at 5 pm.
Saikia claimed that besides 26 Congress MLAs, the lone CPI(M) legislator and the one from Raijor Dal will also vote for Bora.
The AIUDF has also lent its support to Bora as the joint candidate of the Opposition parties.
Raijor Dal MLA Akhil Gogoi, who was present at the press meet, said, “We will ensure victory of Ripun Bora and defeat any conspiracy of the ruling alliance.”
Saikia said the CPI(M) MLA could not be present at the press conference as he had some urgent work at the party office.
Bora, who also addressed the press meet, said he was confident of retaining his seat.
“This is an ideological war. Our victory will mean the victory of democracy and secularism,” he said.
The other seat which fell vacant was held by his party colleague Ranee Narah.
The ruling BJP-led coalition government has fielded Pabitra Margherita (BJP) and Rwngra Narzary (UPPL) for the two seats.
The ruling NDA has 79 members in the Assembly with 63 from BJP, nine from AGP and seven from the UPPL.
The BPF, which has three MLAs, has lent its support to the government in the assembly but is yet to enter into a political alliance formally.
There are seven Rajya Sabha seats from Assam. Three of them are held by the BJP and one by its alliance partner AGP. An independent member holds another seat.
MLAs will participate in the Rajya Sabha election as members of the Upper House of Parliament are elected by legislators in state assemblies. It is an election through proportional representation.