He is often regarded as the “people’s politician” for his humble nature, the innocent smile and the non-lavish lifestyle he follows. A commoner has easy access to him and can meet him without prior appointments. He travels by train and not in private cars and also does not keep a long trail of convoys. But is this enough as an MLA or you need more?
For the last 35 years Phani Bhushan Choudhury, the incumbent Minister of Food & Civil Supplies and Consumer Affairs has had a dream run in Bongaigaon- one of the few remaining AGP bastions.
So what has Bongaigaon achieved and received in the last 35 years of the Phani Bhushan era? Has the constituency touched the pinnacle of development? Are people happy with him and will they elected Choudhury for a record 8th time or will his era finally end in 2021?
These are a few of the several questions that people have been asking as the days to the Assam Assembly election draws closer.
Filing his nomination papers from the constituency, Assam Jatiya Parishad (AJP)’s Dipu Choudhury said, “Phani Bhushan Choudhury has failed to develop the constituency the way people had wished for. He has been at the helm of affairs for 35 years, which is far enough time to develop the constituency.”
“My sole aim is to make the constituency one of the best performing constituencies in entire Assam,” he added.
“We have several issues like lack of proper drinking water facilities, an alternate road connecting the town, proper irrigation facility etc. I aim to develop these facilities and work for the people,” he further said.
It may be mentioned here that on March 9 several AGP and Phani Bhushan Choudhury loyalists resigned from the party and joined AJP.
“Phani Bhushan Choudhury has never helped us whenever we went to him seeking help. Moreover, when we faced several problems when the NRC was being updated, he was nowhere to be found. During those tough days, it was Dipu Choudhury who stood by us and supported us. We have lost all our faith in Phani Bhushan Choudhury,” said Aruni Devi, a resident of the New Colony area of Bongaigaon town.
Paresh Chandra Barman, a resident of Phulkumari Refugee Camp of Bongaigaon’s Bidyapur area said that many people have lost their lands and properties in the last 30 years during Bodo non-Bodo clashes.
“We have been displaced of our land for the last 30 years and the MLA has done nothing to help us. Neither has he initiated any steps to relocate us nor has he taken steps to provide us land pattas,” Barman added.
It may be mentioned here that Barman and a few others were in-charge of three refugee camps of Phulkumari, Bamunitila, and Bhadragaon and they hoped that the MLA would initiate some steps for their relocation.
“We have remained loyal to AGP and MLA Choudhury all these years, hoping there would be some improvement in our situation. But now we have realised that MLA Choudhury won’t do anything,” Barman further added.