Dispur | Jagran Politics Desk: The highly anticipated assembly elections in Assam began on March 27 with polling across 47 seats, including the all-important Sibsagar Vidhan Sabha Constituency. Sibsagar, which comes under the Jorhat Lok Sabha segment, has been considered to be a stronghold for the Congress and its candidate Pranab Gogoi.

Gogoi has been contesting from this seat since 2001. However, it was in 2011 when he consolidated his position in Sibsagar by beating Asom Gana Parishad's Pranabjit Chaliha by 17,250 votes.

In 2016, Gogoi won from Sibsagar again as he received 42.86 per cent of the total votes. However, the Sibsagar Vidhan Sabha Constituency was left vacant after Gogoi's unfortunate demise in 2020.

Looking at his immense popularity, Congress has fielded 40-year-old Subhramitra Gogoi from Sibsagar. Subhramitra will face a contest from Bharatiya Janata Party's Surabhi Rajkonwari. Subhramitra will also face tough competition from Raijor Dal leader and jailed anti-CAA activist Akhil Gogoi. Meanwhile, two other independent candidates are contesting from this seat -- Rupa Borah and Hemanta Boruah.

Political experts believe that Akhil Gogoi, who has been dubbed as a "cylinder candidate" in Assam, could pose a significant challenge to both BJP and the Congress this year from Sibsagar. He was arrested in December 2019 on sedition charges. He is currently getting treated at a hospital in Guwahati.

Akhil had alleged that he was "physical and mental torture in custody and claimed that he was offered instant bail by NIA interrogators if he joined the BJP".

"When I was arguing against the insulting offer, they came out with another proposal of joining the BJP. They said I could contest the Assembly against a vacant seat and become a minister," he had claimed.

"When I did not accept any of their proposals, they offered me a meeting with the chief minister and an influential minister of Assam. I turned down that too," Gogoi had said.

Meanwhile, the three-phase assembly elections in Assam began on March 27. The polling for the second and third phases were conducted on April 1 and April 6 respectively while the counting of votes will take place on May 2.

Posted By: Deeksha Sharma