Assam elections: Campaign for first phase ends


GUWAHATI: The campaigning for the first phase of Assam assembly elections came to an end on Thursday.

In the first phase, 47 seats of the Assam Legislative Assembly will go to polls on March 27.

In 2016, BJP-led alliance grabbed the 35 seats among these 47 constituencies of upper and middle Assam.

NEDA convenor and Assam finance minister Dr. Himanta Biswa Sarma claimed BJP-led alliance will get 42 seats in the first phase.

“Under the Lakhimpur Lok Sabha seat, we will get all the seats except one. We will get all the seats under Tezpur and Dibrugarh LS constituencies. In Jorhat also, we will get all the seats. I think we may not get 4 seats in Kaliabor. So, we will get total 42 seats,” said the BJP leader.

On the last day of the canvassing for the first phase, minister Sarma addressed multiple election rallies which drew large crowds.

Dr. Himanta Biswa Sarma campaigned at Batadrava, Biswanath Chariali, Sarupathar, Bokakhat, Dergaon, Margherita and Sadia on Thursday.

Each rally witnessed massive participation of the BJP workers and well-wishers.

On the other hand, addressing a press meet at Sivasagar, state BJP president Ranjeet Kumar Dass said BJP would win in 7 seats in upper Assam where Congress tasted victory in the last election.

AGP president and minister Atul Bora expressed confidence that the results would be the same as predicted by Dr. Himanta Biswa Sarma.

Meanwhile, Assam Pradesh Congress Committee (APCC) president Ripun Bora claimed his party would win more than 30 seats in the first phase.

“Last time, BJP had dominance over these 47 seats. But, this time it will be reversed. BJP will face debacle and we will win the highest number of seats. We may win 30 plus seats,” said Bora.

It is noteworthy that several political heavyweights are in the fray in the first phase. Assam chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal is seeking re-election from Majuli, a seat he wrested from Congress’ Rajib Lochan Pegu in the 2016 Assembly elections.

Pegu, who had won the seat for three straight terms since 2001, has again been fielded by Congress.

Assam Assembly Speaker Hitendra Nath Goswami is in the poll battle from Jorhat, ministers Ranjit Dutta from Behali, Naba Kumar Doley from Jonai and Sanjoy Kishan from Tinsukia.

The fate of ministers from NDA ally Asom Gana Parishad (AGP)- Atul Bora from Bokakhat and Keshab Mahanta from Kaliabor- will also be sealed during the first phase of polling on March 27.

Ripun Bora is trying his luck from Gohpur seat, where his wife Monika Bora lost in the 2016 polls. The 60-year-old leader will face sitting BJP MLA Utpal Bora.
Among other high-profile candidates in the first phase include Congress Legislature Party leader Debabrata Saikia who is contesting from Nazira, AICC Secretary Bhupen Borah from Bihpuria and former ministers Bharat Narah from Naoboicha, Pranatee Phukan from Naharkatiya and Rakibul Hussain from Samaguri.

Congress has fielded Jyoti Baruah in party stronghold Titabar, a seat held by former chief minister Tarun Gogoi till his death on November 23, 2020. BJP candidate Hemanta Kalita will contest against Baruah.
Lurinjyoti Gogoi, president of newly-floated regional political party Assam Jatiya Parishad (AJP) will contest from two seats– Duliajan and Naharkatia which will go to polls in the first phase.

The fate of jailed anti-CAA activist and Raijor Dal chief Akhil Gogoi from Sibsagar will be decided in the first phase. 

As Raijor Dal had reportedly failed to register with the election commission as a political party, all the Raijor Dal candidates will contest the polls as independent candidates.

Assam Jatiya Parishad and Raijor Dal are contesting the polls in an alliance.
The BJP’s manifesto, released on Tuesday, highlights 10 key agendas – Providing three lakh jobs to the youth, Rs 2.5 lakh financial support to namgarhs, ‘correct’ National Register of Citizens, the removal of illegal encroachments, protection of Assam’s political rights by speeding up the delimitation process and support for landless people through ‘patta’ system.

“Mahajath” which include Congress, the All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF), led by Badruddin Ajmal, Communist Party of India, the Communist Party of India (Marxist), the Communist Party of India (Marxist Leninist) Liberation, the Anchalik Gana Marcha (AGM) and the Bodoland Peoples’ Front (BPF) was formed to oust the BJP government.
The Congress’ ‘People’s manifesto’, released by Rahul Gandhi on Saturday, promised to defend the “idea of the state of Assam” through ‘five guarantees’ – Five lakh government jobs, monthly income of Rs 2,000 to housewives and 200 units of free electricity, the daily wage of Rs 365 for tea garden workers, and no implementation of the CAA.