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LS polls: Campaigning ends for first phase in Assam, Tripura

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By EMN Updated: Apr 06, 2014 1:09 am
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PTI
GUWAHATI, APRIL 5

[dropcap]C[/dropcap]ampaigning in five seats of Assam ended on Saturday for the first phase of Lok Sabha elections on April 7, with no poll boycott call from the proscribed ULFA for the first time in three decades.
Neither factions of the ULFA, pro or anti-talk have issued diktats to the voters for boycott of the elections or made any statement against any political party.
The Congress, BJP, Trinamool Congress, AIUDF, AGP, AAP, SUCI, CPI(M), AIFB and SP are contesting in the five seats in Tezpur, Koliabor, Jorhat, Dibrugarh and Lakhimpur in the Congress-ruled State.Among the 51 candidates, are union ministers Ranee Narah and Paban Singh Ghatowar, former union minister and sitting MLA Bijoy Krishna Handique, Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi’s son Gourav Gogoi and Bhupen Kumar Bora for the Congress.
Congress rebel and Independent candidate Moni Kumar Subba is also contesting.
For the BJP are its State unit president Sorbananda Sonowal and Kamakhya Prasad Tasa and for the AGP Arun Kumar Sarma, Pradip Hazarika, Joseph Toppo.
A pro-talk ULFA commander Heera Sarania alias Naba Kumar Sarania, is contesting as an Independent with the support of several non-Bodo organisations there.
The thrust of the Congress during campaigning is economic reforms undertaken by the UPA, eradication of poverty schemes, MNREGA and social justice measures, particularly for the tea tribes and women.
It also took up the recurring flood and erosion problem, housing for the poor, welfare schemes for tea garden workers, Adivasis, backward classes and Self-Help Groups.
Harping on change for development under the leadership of Narendra Modi, the BJP has focused on fighting corruption, sealing the Indo-Bangladesh border to stop influx and grant of refugee status to the victims of religious, social and political atrocities in Bangladesh.
The saffron party has also taken up local issues like, promising to make efforts for fulfilling the demand for Article 244(A) in Karbi Anglong district, improve the condition and increase production of the world’s oldest running refinery at Digboi, save rhinos from poachers and oppose construction of mega dams in the upper reaches of river Brahmaputra.
For regional party Asom Gana Parishad, illegal migration from Bangladesh, opposition to big dams, implementation of the Assam Accord are poll issues.
Heavyweights who campaigned were Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, BJP prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi, Congress President Sonia Gandhi and party vice president Rahul Gandhi, besides Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi.
An electorate of 64,41,634, including 31,20,067 women, are expected to cast their vote in 8,588 polling stations.
For the first time in the North East region and third in the country after Kashmir and Bihar, all polling booths have been declared smoking free.
Security measures have been tightened for the polls with additional companies of security forces deployed.
The next phase of the polls will be held on April 12 for three Lok Sabha seats.
Tripura
Campaign ended today for the April seven election to the West Lok Sabha seat, one of the two parliamentary constituencies in Left Front ruled Tripura. The seat will witness multi-corner contest among CPI(M), Congress, Trinamool Congress and the BJP.
Among the 13 candidates, major contestants are CPI(M)’s Shankar Prasad Dutta, secretary of the state unit of CITU; Congress’ Arunoday Saha, former vice-Chancellor of Tripura Central University; Sudhindra Dasgupta,BJP’s state unit chief; and Chairman of the state unit of TMC and former minister Ratan Chakraborty.
The CPI(M) has won the seat ten out of 15 times between 1952 and 2009. Since 1996 the CPI(M) has consistently won this seat.
The CPI(M) has stressed on good governance during campaigning and highlighted that the state government has received 45 awards from the Centre for successful implementation of its flagship programmes.
The Congress has claimed that the Left Front has been alienated from the people, while both the TMC and BJP have alleged that the state has been turned into the cadre raj of the Front. BJP’s Prime Ministerial candidate Narendra Modi, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, Tripura Chief Minister and CPI(M) politburo member Manik Sarkar have been the key campaigners in the state.
Of the 12,46,794 voters, 634702 are male and the remaining female.
Altogether 1,605 polling stations have been set up for the constituency of which only two have been identified as very vulnerable, 486 as vulnerable.
The Election Commission has set up nine all-women polling stations considering the track record of good performance by women polling personnel. Chief Electoral Officer Asutosh Jindal said that the more than 11000 personnel will leave for polling stations tomorrow.
An additional 35 companies of security forces have been dispatched by the ECI for deployment along with the state police. The BSF has deployed additional forces along the 856 km Indo-Bangla international border. BSF DIG B S Rawat said watch is being kept on the international border and security agencies in Tripura are closely monitoring the intelligence inputs. The security will continue till the end of polling in the state. Polling for the East Tripura (ST Reserve) seat will be held on April 12.

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By EMN Updated: Apr 06, 2014 1:09:52 am