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Dinesh and Gautom lock horns

SILCHAR, April 16: Lok Sabha elections are a yearaway, but Dinesh Prasad Goala, Parliamentary Secretary, and Gautom Roy, Minister of PHE, are lock horns over Silchar seat, considered most prestigious and politicallystrategic. It was a seat that was held by Congresstill BJP won it in 1996 along with that of Karimganj. Since then, it has been a battle between Congress and BJP fought between the thespian politicians, Sontosh Mohan Dev and Kabindra Purkayastha. While Congress candidate Lalit Mohan Shuklabaidya holds Karimganj seat, BJP stalwart Kabindra Pukayastha, Silchar.
The controversy over the seat within the Congress has been raked up by Gautom Roy, upbeat after the victory of his wife, Mandira Roy, from Algapur seat, beating AIUDF. Chief Minister, Tarun Gogoi's, lavish praise on him for meetingthe challenge of Ajmal brigade against heavy odds pampered him to declare himself as the best minister in the Cabinet and also to say that none could stop him from contesting from Silchar seat. He even went to the extent of saying that Lalit Mohan Shuklabaidya would again be the candidate from Karimganj.
Gautom Roy with his unbeaten record of winning elections from Katlicherra assembly constituency since 1985 has made him the undisputed leader of Hailakandi and also Karimganj from where hisown nominated candidate Lalit Mohan Shuklabaidya continues to be on the victory–tract for the last two consecutive terms. Siddique Ahmed, Minister of Border Area Development, who tried to score over Gautom Roy in Karimganj, was lost in the whirlpool of AIUDF in the rural polls of Februarylast. An ambitious Gautom Roy now wants to extend his sway in Silchar, a bastion so far held by Sontosh Mohan Dev, presently in the eclipse of political career.
It was perhaps left to Dinesh Prasad Goala who too maintains the unbeaten record of winning from Lakhipur assembly seat since 1983 to challenge Gautom Roy and block his foray in Cachar politics. The first thing he did was to rally round him the support of the MLAs of the district and the tacit support of Ajit Singh, Minister of Excise and Sports. He called a press–meet in Congress Bhavan here to declare that none could decide and diktat about the nomination for Silcharseat. Nor could anyone take Congress as his fiefdom. It would be decided by the Cachar District Committee of the party.
Dinesh Prasad Goala however did not name Gautom Roy but gave enough hint about the target of his tirade. He reminded Roy there was no dearth of able and capable candidate in Cachar Congress. He pointed at the party leaders, Arun Dutta Mazumdar, President, andMLAs, Enamul Haque Laskar, Sushmita Dev and Rumi Nath seated by his side and said every one among them was fit to get nomination and contest. "I do not want to beat my own drum", Goala added to say sarcastically.
Shaken by the stand of Dinesh Prasad Goala, Gautom Roy thought it wise to go on back foot and told the media–persons if his nomination was backed by the CacharDistrict Congress Committee and directed by the party High Command, Sonai Gandhi, he was willing to contest from Silchar. He did not atthe same time hide his willingness either when pointing to a motley of crowd of his supporters gathered at his Meherpur residence on the outskirtsof this town, he asked them if they would like him to see contest from Silchar seat. They all nodded in unison and a gladdened Roy said this was an index of people's mandate for him. It mighthave been bemusing for the media–persons, but they only smiled and wished him good luck.
There was more controversy to be raked up. The wily and wise Gautom Roy dragged in the name of a BJP leader without identifying him to say that the leader in question told him over telephone that if he contested from Silchar, the party would not set up its own candidate. BJP MP, Kabindra Purkayastha, was quick to react and threw challenge before Roy to come out with the name of the leader and dubbed his telephonic talk as "concocted, mischievous and demeaning". He advised the Minister to besensible enough before making wild statement before the media.
According to political observers, it was a calculated and well thought of declaration and statement of Gautom Roy regarding his own nomination for Silchar LS seat. It was an exercise togauge the mood as well as reaction of people of Cachar and at the same time to assess his acceptance as a candidate. From the united stand of Silchar District Congress Committee, it was clear Roy would have to rethink about his "ambition and wish" to contest from here. But, from all reckoning the very purpose of flamboyant Roy to test the mandate for him and also the reaction of Cacharleaders of the party has been a success. It will therefore be watched with interest how the subsequent events centring round the Parliamentary seat dovetail itself. (Source:SentinelAssam)

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