Autonomous State Demand Takes Centre Stage As Diphu Gears Up For LS Polls - Eastern Mirror
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Autonomous state demand takes centre stage as Diphu gears up for LS polls

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By Vivian Longki Rongpi Updated: Apr 24, 2024 11:07 pm

DIPHU — The campaign for the second phase of the Lok Sabha election in Assam concluded on Wednesday. This phase includes, among others, the 6th Diphu (ST)  Parliamentary Constituency, with campaigning ending at 5 pm.

The 8,92,789 voters from the three hill districts will head to the polls on April 26 to elect their preferred candidate.

Five candidates are in the fray: Amarsing Tisso as the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) candidate, former MLA Joyram Engleng as the Indian National Congress (INC) candidate, former Chief Executive Member (CEM) of Karbi Anglong Autonomous Council (KAAC) Jotson Bey as the Autonomous State Demand Committee (ASDC) candidate, JI Kathar as the independent candidate backed by the All Party Hills Leaders Conference (APHLC), and John Barnard Sangma as the Gana Suraksha Party (GSP) candidate.

The constituency covers five legislative assembly (LA) segments, namely Diphu, Bokajan, and Howraghat of Karbi Anglong, Baithalangso of West Karbi Anglong, and Halflong of Dima Hasao.

There are a total of 8,92,789 voters, with 4,45,084 male voters and 4,47,705 female voters. With the delimitation of assembly constituencies in Assam, one new LA seat has been created in West Karbi Anglong, namely Amri LAC, while the existing Baithalangso LAC has been renamed Rongkhang LAC.

The 17-day high-voltage campaign, starting on April 8, witnessed intense political drama with allegations and counter-allegations among political parties, all vying to influence voters with their promises. The autonomous state issue has emerged as the main focal point for all political parties in this election.

The BJP, which has faced criticism from opposition parties for not favouring the autonomous state, has placed it as a top priority in its campaign. The party has campaigned among voters, emphasising welfare schemes such as Arunodoi, free LPG gas cylinders, ration cards, the Ayushman Bharat health scheme, and free admission in colleges and universities for poor students.

The BJP-ruled KAAC has faced criticism for its inability to pay salaries to its employees or settle bills with contractors. Meanwhile, the ASDC, a regional force formed in 1986 to demand an autonomous state, has made the protection of the land and boundaries of Karbi Anglong and Dima Hasao a key agenda alongside their main focus on the autonomous state issue.

The APHLC, led by its president, JI Kathar, has been demanding the deletion of the names of non-scheduled tribal voters from the KAAC voter list and the conduct of re-election. However, these issues have not been featured in their election manifesto.

The Congress has also made a commitment to the people regarding the implementation of Article 244 (A). Additionally, the party has taken a stance against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and the Uniform Civil Code (UCC).

The election also saw allegations and counter-allegations among the opposition Congress, ASDC, and APHLC regarding their inability to field a common candidate against the BJP. The Congress and CPI (ML)-Hills Party Committee have formed an alliance in the INDIA bloc. The CPI (ML), by refraining from nominating its candidate, has lent support to the Congress candidate.

Meanwhile, the state government has declared a public holiday on April 26 due to the second phase of voting within the jurisdiction of West Karbi Anglong under the 6-Diphu (ST) Parliamentary Constituency.

All state government and non-government offices, urban local bodies, educational institutions, businesses, and commercial establishments, including banks, tea gardens, and industries, will remain closed on the day.

DC Karbi Anglong imposes restrictions

The District Election Officer and District Commissioner of Karbi Anglong, Madhumita Bhagwati, ACS, has issued a prohibitory order under Section 144 of the CrPC to maintain peace, security, and tranquillity and to ensure peaceful voting in Karbi Anglong district for the second phase of the parliamentary election in Assam.

The order stated that the assembly or gathering of five or more persons in a public place and the use of school and college premises as election campaigning booths on the day of polling will be strictly prohibited.

Campaigning within a 100-metre radius of polling stations, as well as the carrying of firearms, explosive substances, lathis, and other articles capable of causing injury and used as weapons of offence, are also prohibited.

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By Vivian Longki Rongpi Updated: Apr 24, 2024 11:07:26 pm
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