The 2019 Lok Sabha election result day was not exactly the best thing to happen for dynasts in Indian politics. Apart from Rahul Gandhi, a number of candidates from political families — including Milind Deora (Mumbai South) and Jyotiraditya Scindia (Guna) — faced defeat.
However, despite this nationwide trend, two other dynastic leaders in the North East — Gaurav Gogoi and Agatha — retained their seats.
Gaurav Gogoi has been elected for a second term as the Member of Parliament from the Kaliabor Lok Sabha constituency in Assam. The Congress candidate is the son of three-time chief minister of Assam, Tarun Gogoi.
Agatha Sangma maintained her foothold in the Tura Lok Sabha constituency, her family stronghold in Meghalaya. Sangma, a National People’s Party candidate, is the daughter of former Meghalaya chief minister and former Lok Sabha Speaker Purno A Sangma. Her brother Conrad Sangma is the present chief minister of Meghalaya and the president of the ruling NPP in Meghalaya.
Tarun Gogoi had won the Kaliabor Lok Sabha constituency for the first time in the year 1991. In the next election, in the year 1996, he lost it to Asom Gana Parishad candidate Keshab Mahanta.
In 1998, Tarun Gogoi won again, and the constituency has been the fiefdom of the Gogoi family since then. After Tarun Gogoi became the chief minister of Assam in 2001, his brother Deep Gogoi represented Kaliabor till 2014, when Gaurav Gogoi stepped into electoral politics and won the seat for the first time.
The challenge for Gaurav Gogoi was steep this time around, as he faced AGP candidate Moni Madhav Mahanta, who was backed by the BJP. It was widely speculated that the combined vote share of the AGP and BJP would oust Gogoi.
In the 2014 Assembly election, Gogoi had defeated the BJP candidate with a margin of 93,874 votes. The BJP and the AGP did not have an alliance then.
This time around, Gogoi won with a margin of more than 2,00,000 votes. His victory may partly be due to the decision of the All India United Democratic Front not to field a candidate in 11 out of 14 constituencies in Assam, including Kaliabor.
Agatha Sangma, who was pitted against two-time Meghalaya chief minister Mukul Sangma, also had a tough battle in front of her. The BJP had also fielded Rickman G Momin, the vice-president of its state unit, against her in Tura.
However, her family's connections in the constituency seem to have saved the day for her. It was believed that the anti-Congress votes would get divided between Agatha Sangma and the BJP candidate, which would ensure the victory of the Congress candidate. However, the results showed that the BJP candidate was not even in the contest, and could not harm Agatha's prospects.
The NPP has clearly distanced itself from the saffron party on the issue of the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, which had been vehemently opposed in the North East. Conrad Sangma was seen at the forefront of the opposition to the bill.
Had the BJP not fielded a candidate in Tura against Agatha Sangma, the Opposition would have got reason to argue that this showed a clandestine understanding between the NPP and the BJP. But when the BJP too fielded it’s candidate in Tura, it helped consolidation of votes in favor of Agatha.
Agatha Sangma's father Purno A Sangma was elected as a Member of Parliament from Tura nine times.
The BJP and its allies have won 18 seats out of 25 in North East India. The saffron party won 14 seats in the region on its own.
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Updated Date: May 24, 2019 22:45:17 IST