The polling for the second phase of the three-phased assembly elections in Assam will take place on Thursday, April 1. Campaigning came to an end on Tuesday with political parties putting an all-out effort to woo the voters. The high-voltage campaign saw bigwigs from BJP and Congress touring the state several times in the past week.
A total of 345 candidates are in fray for 39 constituencies, whose fate will be sealed on Thursday. Of the 345 candidates, there are four ministers and the deputy speaker of the Assam assembly.
In the first phase, 47 seats went to polls on March 27 in the 126-member assembly.
Prominent faces from the BJP include ministers Parimal Suklabaidya from Dholai, Bhabesh Kalita from Rangia, Pijush Hazarika from Jagiroad, and Deputy Speaker Aminul Haque Laskar from Sonai. Notably, former Deputy Speaker Dilip Kumar Paul is contesting as an Independent candidate from Silchar after he was denied a ticket by the BJP. He had resigned from the party following the ticket row.
The election in the second phase includes 15 assembly seats in the Barak Valley. In the 2016 polls, BJP had bagged eight seats six from Cachar district and two from bordering Karimganj district, which shares boundaries with Bangladesh.
Assam Minister Parimal Suklabaidya is contesting from the Dholai seat for the seventh time on a BJP ticket. State minister Piyush Hazarika is contesting from Jagiroad and Bhabesh Kalita, also a minister, 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.
Rajya Sabha MP Biswajit Daimary is contesting from Panery and former Asam Sahitya Sabha President Paramananda Rajbongshi is trying his luck from Sipajhar. Former Assam Minister for Hill Areas Development, Mines and Minerals and Congress leader Sum Ronghang is in the fray from the Diphu seat.
The BJP formed the first party-led government in Assam after securing a thumping win in the 2016 elections. BJP and its allies won 86 out of 126 seats and ousted the Tarun Gogoi-led Congress government which ruled the state for 15 years.
Campaigning for the second phase election saw the debate over Citizenship Amendment Act. While the BJP leaders said that they will implement CAA, the Congress has promised to “nullify it”.
The BJP has been targeting the Congress party over its alliance with AIUDF and has been raising the issue of infiltration. Party leaders have said that Congress has allied with those who have “favoured infiltration”. The party has also promised to free the state of the problem of recurrent floods.
The Congress, on the other hand, has promised five lakh government jobs to youth in five years, 200 units of free electricity, taking daily-wage of tea garden workers to Rs 365 and Rs 2,000 per month to homemakers.
Meanwhile, all necessary preparations have been made for the second phase polls tomorrow. In view of the prevailing COVID-19 pandemic, the Election Commission has decided to allow maximum 1,000 electors in a Polling Station instead of earlier stipulation of 1,500 electors.
According to the Election Commission, there are 73,44,631 electors in the 39 constituencies going to polls in the second phase.
The constituency with the highest number of electors in Phase II is Hojai with 373 polling stations and 2,65,886 voters. The constituency having the lowest number of electors is Howraghat in Karbi Anglong district with 195 polling stations and 1,32,339 electors.
Over 73.44 lakh voters electors are eligible to cast their vote in the second phase of the election. The polling would begin at 7 am and conclude at 6 pm.