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Bhagwati seeks Cong ticket from Tezpur


New Delhi, Feb 21:

J. Bhagwati, a former Indian high commissioner to Britain, has sought the Congress nomination for the Tezpur Lok Sabha seat, his home town in Assam, informed sources said Friday.

The constituency was held by his late father, a respected trade union leader, Bijoy Chandra Bhagwati.

J Bhagwati
J Bhagwati

The seat is currently held by Joseph Topno of the Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) and a former student leader of the tea garden community.

Bhagwati has met Congress leaders including vice president Rahul Gandhi, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi and Tezpur Congress leaders.

Bhagwati, a highly regarded diplomat and economist specializing in international banking, served both in the finance ministry, the central government as well as the World Bank.

As he waits for word from the Congress leadership, Bhagwati has taken up a visiting professorship at ICRIER, an independent think tank on economic growth based at New Delhi.

His wife Rita is also an economist and has also served in the World bank at Washington.

Bhagwati is perhaps the dark horse in the Tezpur seat where Mani Subba, the controversial former MP of Nepali origin who was accused of corruption and involvement in lottery scams, is pitted against another contender B. Bora, a Congress legislator.

Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi, whose nod is crucial in this process, is known to not be particularly supportive of Subba because of his image and that many in Assam see him as an outsider.

However, Gogoi, his main rival and Health Minister H.B. Sarma as well as Subba came together at the inauguration of the Tezpur Medical College.

Bhagwati is a member of the 1976 batch of the Indian Foreign Service and also served as India’s ambassador to Belgium, Luxembourg and to the European Union.

He served for 33 years in various capacities in the external affairs and finance ministries besides in the World Bank.