Campaigning for round 2 of polls ends

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Fate of 345 candidates in 39 constituencies to be sealed tomorrow

HT Bureau

GUWAHATI, March 30: The high voltage campaigning for the second phase of assembly elections ended at 6 pm on Tuesday.

The second phase of the poll will be conducted in 39 assembly constituencies on April 1. The polling for the third phase will be conducted on April 6. The counting of votes will take place on May 2.

As many as 345 candidates are in the fray in the second phase, including 26 women.

A total of 73,44,631 voters will exercise their franchise in the second phase of voting. Of them, 37,34,537 are male and 36,09,959 female and 135 are third gender voters.

Apart from Prime Minister Narendra Modi, BJP national president JP Nadda, Union minister Smriti Irani, Assam chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal and North East Democratic Alliance (NEDA) convenor Himanta Biswa Sarma have been campaigning for the second phase of the poll.

In 2016, the assembly polls were conducted in two phases in Assam. BJP and its allies had won 86 out of 126 seats and overthrew the Tarun Gogoi-led Congress government which ruled the state for 15 years.

The fate of ministers including Pijush Hazarika, Parimal Suklabaidya, Bhabesh Kalita and deputy speaker of state assembly Aminul Haque Laskar will be decided in the second phase of polls on Thursday.

Baidya is contesting from the Dholai seat for the seventh time on a BJP ticket, Hazarika from Jagiroad, and Kalita is contesting from the Rangia seat.

Former Congress minister Gautam Roy is contesting from Katigorah on a BJP ticket, while former deputy speaker Dilip Kumar Paul, who resigned from the BJP after he was denied ticket, is contesting as an Independent from Silchar.

Former HAD minister Sum Ronghang, who jumped to the Congress after being denied a party ticket by BJP, is in the fray from the Diphu seat.

Nearly crucial 15 Assembly seats in the Barak Valley region will go to polls on April 1. In the 2016 polls, BJP had bagged 8 seats, six from Cachar district and two from bordering Karimganj district, which shares boundaries with Bangladesh.

The state, in its three-phased polls, is witnessing a direct fight between the BJP-Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) and Congress-led Grand Alliance.

The BJP is banking on Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s governance, Central public welfare schemes, and on the image of chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal.

While Congress is heading into the battle against the ruling party bringing the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and the National Register of Citizens (NRC) to the fore.

Congress has stitched a coalition named ‘Mahajot’ with All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF), 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) to oust the BJP government from office.

On the other hand, BJP is seeking to return to power with the help of Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) and United People’s Party Liberal (UPPL).

Jailed CAA Activist Akhil Gogoi’s Raijor Dal has stitched an alliance with Assam Jatiya Parishad.

This is the first Assembly elections in Assam after the state witnessed widespread protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), which aims to grant citizenship to Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Christian, Jain, Parsi refugees who came to India from Bangladesh, Pakistan, and Afghanistan till December 31, 2014, and the publication of the National Register of Citizens (NRC) list.

The Congress leadership has strongly taken up the issue during its campaign. Rahul Gandhi has promised that if Congress comes to power in Assam, then it will do away with the implementation of the CAA.

However, state BJP chief Ranjeet Kumar Dass has said that the party will soon implement the CAA if it is re-elected to office. He further claimed that the CAA is not an issue in the upcoming Assembly elections in the state as people will vote logically, not emotionally.

 Last minute campaign in KA

On the last day of campaigning for the 2nd phase of polls, the BJP in Karbi Anglong concentrated on street corner meetings and on reaching a maximum number of voters in rural areas.

Karbi Anglong Autonomous Council (KAAC) chief executive member (CEM) Tuliram Ronghang attended two public meetings in Lumbajong MAC constituency under 19-Diphu seat. The meetings were held at Borlangpher High School playground and at Dikoi Terang playground.

Congress candidate of 17-Bokajan Ratan Engti apart from attending public meetings was seen going on door to door seeking votes.

In 20-Baithalangso, BJP campaigned at Harlong Chebat and Harlongsora. BJP candidate Rupsing Teron asked the voters to vote for him for peace, progress and development.

22 in the fray for 3 constituencies in Nagaon

The fate of 22 candidates from three constituencies – Nagaon Sadar, Barhampur and Raha will be sealed in EVMs on Thursday as the campaigning for the second phase of assembly polls ended on Tuesday evening.

During the last minute campaigning, BJP, Congress and other candidates took out massive car and bike rallies in support of their candidates throughout their constituencies.

Altogether 5,82,196 voters will decide the fate of the candidates in those three constituencies on Thursday.

In the last hour BJP candidate and sitting MLA of Nagaon Sadar Rupak Sarma, Congress candidate Santanu Sarma and AJP candidate Anup Laskar took out roadshows, huge car and bike rallies separately throughout Nagaon town.

Rupak Sarma along with several thousand supporters started the roadshow from Binapani Natya Mandir and traversed throughout various areas of the town. Similarly, AJP candidate Anup Laskar took out a huge bike as well as car rally from his South Haiborgaon residence and traversed throughout the town including Lakhinagar Chariali, Barbazaar, Kathmil Chariali, Fouzdaripatty and other important corners of the town.

Congress candidate Santanu Sarma also took out a huge bike and car rally in the town and showed his strength of support to the voters of the constituency.

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