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Ampati candidate not intimidated by the “high-voltage” fight

Good show will be a moral victory for my supporters: Koch

GUWAHATI: As the battle for Ampati – billed by the ruling party as a potential “jewel in their crown” – reaches its zenith with the might of Delhi and Shillong behind the heavyweights, 26-year-old Subhankar Koch, the Independent candidate in the fray, says he is keen on securing a moral victory for his supporters.

On the last day of campaigning for Monday’s high-voltage fight, the young man sounded composed, as he told The Shillong Times that he would try his best not to let down his supporters, who are basically BJP block level workers.

“I never had any ambition for personal glory but decided to contest at the last moment (a day before the last date of filing of nominations) because the BJP block level karyakartas urged me to be in the fray. They were upset after our leader, Bakul Hajong was denied a ticket by the party and even wanted to boycott the bypoll at one point of time,” Koch, a former BJP worker, told this correspondent over phone on Saturday, after visiting a village in the plain belt of the South West Garo Hills constituency.

The BJP karyakartas were rallying behind Bakul Hajong’s candidature earlier this month till the eleventh hour flip-flop by the party higher-ups took them aback.

Hajong, a retired bureaucrat, had contested the February 27 elections on a BJP ticket but lost to former chief minister, Mukul Sangma, who was the favourite to retain the seat.

Sangma, who also won from Songsak, decided to vacate the Ampati seat where he has been elected for six consecutive years, and make way for his 27-year-old daughter, Miani D Shira to contest.

Despite a triangular fight on the cards, the battle for Ampati will primarily be between the MDA candidate, Clement G Momin of NPP and Congress’ Miani.

On the high-profile campaign on the other side which however has seen a few “ugly” incidents, including an FIR filed by the Congress candidate against NPP leaders, Koch chose to concentrate on his ground work instead, saying, “I have covered all the villages in the plain belt. The feedback I get is that I have the backing of a good section of Koch and Hajong communities.”

“A good performance will undoubtedly be a moral victory for my supporters,” the Betasing resident added.


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