In a meeting that ran into late, the BJP and its two alliance partners in Assam — the Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) and United People’s Party Liberal (UPPL) — finalised their seat-sharing arrangements in 86 Assembly segments where polling will be held mostly in the first and second phases, BJP State unit chief Ranjit Dass said on Thursday night after a meeting of the Central Election Committee (CEC) of the BJP in New Delhi. Sources also indicated that for the all important contest in Bengal, which was also discussed on Thursday, Union Minister Babul Supriyo may be fielded to take on Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.
Assam has 126 Assembly constituencies where elections will be held in three phases, on March 27, April 1 and April 6.
“The BJP and its allies have finalised the seat-sharing arrangements. I am not disclosing now the number of seats each party will contest as our alliance partners have to sort out some of their internal issues,” Mr. Dass told reporters.
Mr. Dass said his party would announce its own candidates for the first two phases soon. However, the party had not finalised candidates in 12 seats for the time being and had kept them pending, he said.
Asked whether Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal would again be projected as the chief ministerial candidate for the coming Assembly polls, the BJP State unit president said the party did not make such an announcement where it had its own government.
“We project a chief ministerial candidate where we don’t have our own government. Where we have our own government, we don’t make such an announcement,” he said.
Sources said the CEC kept a rough calculation of 86-88 seats for the BJP, around 26 seats to the AGP and around 6 seats for the UPPL out of a total of 126 seats. The committee comprising top leaders including Prime Minister Narendra Modi, also met on Thursday to approve the list of party candidates for Assam.
In the first of the three phases, 47 constituencies will go for polls. In the second phase, polling will be held in 39 constituencies and in the third phase, 40 constituencies.
The last date for filing of nomination for the first phase is March 9, for the second phase it is March 12 and for the third phase, the last date of submitting nomination papers is March 19.