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Stage set for final phase of polling in Assam

By EMN Updated: Apr 11, 2016 12:58 am

GUWAHATI, April 10

The stage is set for the second and final phase of polling in Assam that will decide the fate of 525 candidates in 61 Assembly constituencies with ruling Congress, BJP-AGP-BPF alliance and AIUDF locked in a keen contest.
The constituencies spread across lower and central Assam will have 12,699 polling stations where 1,04,35,271 voters will be able exercise their franchise.
With over 50,000 polling personnel deployed for the second phase, security has been tightened across the constituencies, particularly those in four Bodoland Territorial Area districts where NDFB(S) ultras are active and in Goalpara district which witnessed a bomb blast recently.
Strict vigil was being maintained in Dhubri district bordering Bangladesh and Baksa sharing border with Bhutan.
The polling will witness mainly a triangular contest among the ruling Congress, AIUDF and the BJP-AGP-BPF alliance.
Congress is contesting in 57 seats, opposition AIUDF in 47, BJP in 35 while its allies — the Bodo Peoples’ Front in 10 and the Asom Gana Parishad in 19. The CPI(M) is contesting in nine seats, the CPI in five, and Independents in 214.
Among prominent candidates in fray are cabinet ministers Rakibul Hussain, Chandan Sarkar and Nazrul Islam for the Congress, former two-time AGP Chief Minister Prafulla Mahanta, AIUDF chief and Dhubri MP Badruddin Ajmal and former Congress minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, who led a dissidence against the Chief Minister and joined BJP last year.
Other key candidates include BPF’s Chandan Brahma, Pramila Rani Brahma and Rihon Daimari, AGP’s Ramendra Narayan Kalita and Kamala Kalita and their former colleagues who joined the BJP — Atul Bora and Chandra Mohan Patowary.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who led the campaign for the BJP-AGP-BPF alliance in both the phases, addressed four rallies while his ministerial colleagues Rajnath Singh and Nitin Gadkari, BJP President Amit Shah and Chief Ministerial candidate Sarbananda Sonowal also pitched in.
For the Congress, party president Sonia Gandhi, vice-president Rahul Gandhi, state unit chief Anjan Dutta, former UPA ministers Ghulam Nabi Azad, Jairam Ramesh, Salman Khurshid and Sachin Pilot campaigned for its candidates.
The campaign in the second phase, which has a predominant minority population in several constituencies, focused primarily on the issue of infiltration.
The BJP pledged to resolve the infiltration issue by completely sealing off the Indo-Bangla border while Congress said there was no Bangladeshi in Assam and it was the Tarun Gogoi government that took initiative to update the National Register of Citizens to resolve the issue.
The AIUDF, on the other hand, highlighted its role as the king-maker.

By EMN Updated: Apr 11, 2016 12:58:35 am