Cong women's wing chief miffed over seat sharing in Assam

Guwahati/Silchar, Mar 6 (IANS): Weeks ahead of the Assembly elections in Assam, All India Mahila Congress (AIMC) President and former Lok Sabha MP Sushmita Dev on Saturday reportedly expressed her strong resentment over the allotment of seats to Congress ally AIUDF.

A media report said that Dev, who's the daughter of influential Congress leader and former Union minister Santosh Mohan Dev, has resigned from her post. However, the Congress leaders in Guwahati and Delhi strongly denied the report.

According to those close to Dev, she is upset with the seat allocation to AIUDF in Silchar and also about the selection of candidates for the Bengali dominated region in southern Assam.

The Congress leader on Saturday abruptly left the crucial candidates' selection committee meeting being held in Guwahati since Thursday.

Several Assembly seats fell under the Silchar Lok Sabha constituency from where Dev was elected to the Lower House in 2014, before she lost in the 2019 general elections.

Former Assam minister Siddique Ahmed, a close follower of Dev, said that they are annoyed because some Assembly seats and Congress strongholds have been allotted to the All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF), ignoring the sentiments and demands of the party workers.

Meanwhile, some Congress workers in southern Assam organised protests on Saturday and even burnt tyres to express their resentments over the issue.

However, the process of candidate selection by the central and state Congress leaders is still underway, and the names of candidates for the first two phases of elections are likely to be announced by Sunday.

In a press statement, the chairperson of the media cell of Assam Congress, Bobbeeta Sharma, termed the media report as speculative, saying: "We want to make it clear that Sushmita Dev has not resigned from the party."

The Congress, which was in power in the state for 15 years (2001-2016) until the BJP-led alliance came to power in 2016, has formed a 'Mahagathbandhan' (grand alliance) with three Left parties -- CPI(M), CPI and CPI(ML) -- as well as the AIUDF, the Anchalik Gana Morcha, Bodoland People's Front (BPF), three regional parties having a political base among the Muslims and indigenous people.

The Congress had gone solo in the previous Assembly elections in Assam in 2016, securing 26 seats in the 126-member Assembly.

The 126-member Assam Assembly will go to the polls in three phases on March 27 (47 seats), April 1 (39 seats) and April 6 (40 seats). The results will be declared on May 2.



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