SHILLONG, Feb 11: One of the most interesting contests in the upcoming Assembly elections this year is the one for the South Shillong seat and the tug of war between two old rivals in the constituency by way of Sanbor Shullai and Manas Chaudhuri.
Both these leaders have switched their respective political parties with an eye to bag this coveted urban seat in Shillong with the former sitting legislator, Shullai leaving the NCP to join BJP and Chaudhuri leaving the BJP to join Congress.
This tinderbox of political enmity has already seen some hot statements being issued by both the aspirants but in this duel, it is the electorate which is going to determine the future of any one of these leaders and also of the others who are also in fray.
Shullai has promised to end the political career of Chaudhuri with this election, claiming that he will defeat him by more than 15,000 votes whereas the latter has hit him back by stating that this is a “pipe-dream”.
Sources said that before finally rejoining the Congress, Chaudhuri was weighing offers from NCP, RPI and the Congress until choosing the latter on whose ticket he lost the 2013 polls by a whisker of just above a thousand votes.
The public have a different take on this since they are of the opinion that it will be difficult for Chaudhuri since he has only recently jumped into the electoral fray and his reach out is limited to the Rilbong area. On the other hand there are opinions that the only thing that can hold back Shullai from winning is the fact that the BJP has announced its list of candidates very late.
The electorate has also opined that the same also applies in case of Chaudhuri since he has joined the contest barely three weeks before polls and most importantly he was largely quite post the 2013 defeat.
There are opinions from many that the allegations of nepotism against Shullai and anti-incumbency may also come into play once real time voting starts. Political analysts on the other hand have arrested “similarities” in the statement given by Chaudhuri, so far.
On the first occasion, when he resigned from the Congress party last year he said that that he was disillusioned with the inept manner in which the party (Congress) was being run in the state whereas after he had joined the BJP he stated that there is a huge gap between the Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision and the action of the party (BJP) on the ground.
Political analysts are of the opinion that in both the cases Chaudhuri’ angst has been against the concerned party from which his expected “deliveries” weren’t flowing. They also observe that it is to be seen what the Congress party has stored for itself in the upcoming polls given the political changes that are taking place in the region.