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BJP will lose if number of selfies with me converts into votes: Gaurav Gogoi

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Congress candidate Gaurav Gogoi dances with supporters during an election campaign ahead of Lok Sabha polls, in Majuli, Assam

Congress candidate Gaurav Gogoi dances with supporters during an election campaign ahead of Lok Sabha polls, in Majuli, Assam

Majuli: Welcomed by scores of supporters who showered flowers, played dhols and hugged him during the campaign, Congress leader Gaurav Gogoi expressed confidence that he will win the Jorhat Lok Sabha seat, saying BJP MP Topon Kumar Gogoi will definitely lose if the number of selfies clicked with him by the people converts into votes.

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Gogoi, the Congress MP of Kaliabor who is fighting this time from Jorhat, spent two days in Majuli -- the world's largest river island located in the middle of Brahmaputra, and addressed as many as 12 street corner meetings across the district.

Majuli was earlier part of Lakhimpur Lok Sabha constituency, but it was added to Jorhat in the delimitation exercise carried out last year by the Election Commission.

People of Jorhat, a constituency once held by Gaurav's father Tarun Gogoi -- the charismatic late CM, shifted allegiance to BJP in 2014. Among the communities that have a significant population here are Ahom, Thengal-Kachari, Mising and tea tribes.

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After Gogoi's Kaliabor seat was rechristened as Kaziranga in delimitation, he was assigned the mighty task of taking on the BJP in Jorhat, which has become a stronghold of the ruling party over the last 10 years. He is hoping to build an emotional connect with the voters, especially the young ones. However, bridging the gap of over 82,000 votes, the margin by which Congress lost the seat in 2019, looks like an uphill task.

The 41-year-old Gogoi, who spent the Wednesday night at a traditional 'chang ghar' (elevated house), started around 9 am on Thursday with a chit-chat with his campaign team, a mix of both genders of varied ages, about the day's plan.

He then straightaway proceeded to Kalitapar village in Pokajara mandal of Majuli for the first meeting. He was welcomed by local artists with traditional 'Bihu Dhol' (drum), whose enticing beats forced him to shake his legs and dance with his supporters.

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People showered flower petals and hugged him, while many elderlies kissed the young politician. Some garlanded him with the traditional 'gamocha' (scarf) and the youths mobbed him for selfies.

Supporters raised slogans such as "Gauravor joy, raijor joy" (Gaurav's victory is people's victory) and "Jikiboi jikiboi, Gaurav jikiboi" (Gaurav is winning for sure), among others.

"I am overwhelmed with the love you have showered on me. The number of photos and selfies you have clicked with me, if we convert those into votes, BJP will lose by a huge margin," Gogoi said to a rousing applause and laughter.

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Attacking the BJP, he claimed it has been making too many promises before every election, but hardly any of them are fulfilled.

"Government schools and colleges are getting closed, prices of medicines are going up, inflation of essential commodities are at an all-time high and farmers' conditions are getting worse," he alleged.

Gogoi also stressed that Majuli, which was once represented by former Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal in the assembly, is gripped by a slew of problems with the government doing least to solve those.

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In an apparent reference to CM Himanta Biswa Sarma and his family, he said, "My father was a chief minister for 15 years. Still, I have neither a factory in my name nor a tea garden. There is no factory in my mother's name as well." Thereafter, Gogoi went to Natun Chapori Mising, Cherepai Khowa and Dhapak villages, and held similar meetings.

Taking an hour break, he had lunch at a party worker's house. On the menu were rice, dal, sabji, papad and salad.

After having the home-cooked food, he reached Chumoimari village to begin the last leg of his campaign in Majuli. The street meeting at Bongaon Chariali was the last stop with the voters here.

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"Majuli is facing enormous erosion, but the BJP government is doing nothing. The way you are getting me now, I will be there with you after winning also. I will always stand by you in your bad days," he said.

Gogoi along with his team of half-a-dozen party workers left Majuli at 4 pm in a pre-booked single-engine ferry from Aphalamukh ghat on the way to Jorhat town.

After reaching Jorhat, Gogoi had a series of closed-door meetings with different like-minded political and social groups. These meetings continued till around 8.30 pm.

The last programme of the day of the deputy leader of the Congress in the Lok Sabha was a dinner meeting with local journalists.

After dinner, the members of his team left for their homes to meet again the next morning for another day of the campaign.

Jorhat will vote in the first phase on April 19 along with four other seats in Upper Assam.

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