Is it Paul Vs Dev is Silchar?

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Written By: Ritu Kashyap


Rajniti Axom (www.rajnitiaxom.com is Assam’s 1st e-magazine explicitly for politics)


After serving as deputy speaker of Assam assembly for almost 1.5 years, Mr Dilip Kumar Paul resigned from the post in May 2018. Though this news found a place in the  front page in many news papers in Brahmaputra Valley, it was not very detailed. However, as expected the news papers in Barak Valley published it with more intensity. As per some media reports he resigned due to rift with the speaker. However, Mr Paul who is  two time MLA from Silchar assembly constituency, clarified that there is no rift with the speaker. He was unable to work full to his potential in his assembly due to protocol issues and thats why he resigned from the post of deputy speaker. If our sources to be believed then the reason of his resignation is completely different. BJP has already finalised his candidature for the 2019 election from Silchar Lok Sabha seat. If this is true, then we will see a fascinating contest in 2019 where All India president of Mahila Congress Sushmita Dev will lock horns with BJP strongman Mr Dilip Kumar Paul. It will be also an opportunity for Susmita Dev to take revenge against the person who defeated her mother in 2016 assembly election.  We have outlined some data comparing both the leaders:

It is quite evident  that Ms Dev is much more popular in the national level. The young lady from Silchar has already marked her presence in the Lower House. The daughter of veteran congressman Satosh Mohan Dev is brave, energetic , fluent in English and thats why she was given such an important responsibility of leading All India Mahila Congress. On the other hand Dilip Kumar Paul who joined BJP as a primary member in 1983 rose from the grassroots level. Paul was a ward president between 1997 and 2002. He then became Vice President of town mandal committee and eventually became the president of mandal committee. In 2014, when Sushmita Dev vacated the Silchar assembly constituency, Dilip Kumar Paul was given the ticket from BJP. Paul defeated Arun Dutta Mazumdar by a Hugh margin of 37,441. In 2016 the margin was even bigger. He defeated Bithika Dev of congress by 39,920 votes.

If we look into the history of Silchar lok Sabha constituency 6 out of 10 times it was held by Dev family, 5 by Santos Mohan Dev and last time by Sushmita Dev. Former Union minister and BJP leader Kavindra Purkayastha also came victorious 3 times. 87 years old Kavindra babu is unlikely to get ticket this time due to his age.

We have compared the votes of Congress and BJP from 1996 to 2014. All these years there were direct fights between Kavindra Purkayashta and Dev family except 2009 when Badaruddin Ajmal came 2nd.

All except one occasion, the contest was close. If we look into 2016 assembly election and add all the votes of assembly segments under the Silchar loksabha constituency, BJP is leading by a massive 1,16,431 votes.  The best performance of BJP till now is in 2009 where it won by a margin of 46,288 votes. While BJP will be happy with it’s performance in 2016 assembly election, at the same time, it understands that a strong candidate is needed to challenge a national figure of Congress Ms Sushmita Dev. Thats why they have thought about Dilip Kumar Paul. He is the best BJP can offer from Silchar loksabha as far as winnability is concerned. Both Dev and Paul never lost an election till now. Congress will bank on the anti incumbency of BJP governments at centre and state. They would also like to show Sushmita as a voice of Barak Valley in the national politics. On the other hand BJP will be hoping of another Modi wave. Both parties will try to use NRC and citizen amendment bill to their advantage.

No doubt the Silachar loksabha election will be keenly watched not only in Assam and also in entire India. We have to accept that Modi is still the most popular leader in the country. The opinion poll conducted by Rajniti Axom, Assam’s 1st e-magazine explicitly for politics reveals that the gap between Modi and Rahul is almost 40%. Assam BJP also became stronger compared to 2014 when Ms Dev got support from Himanta Biswa Sarma and his loyalists. Assam congress is divided in many groups. There is no prominent face to campaign for her. She is left alone to fight her own battle. Sonowal and Himanta Biswa Sarma will do extensive campaigning for Paul. Having said that it is difficult to predict what will be the situation of Barak Valley after the NRC is published. Looks like at this time, Mr Paul is ahead in the race. If Sushmita looses it will be a national headline


Rajniti Axom (www.rajnitiaxom.com is Assam’s 1st e-magazine explicitly for politics)