Assam is all set to vote for the third and last phase of Assembly elections on Tuesday. 337 candidates are in fray for 40 seats including 25 female candidates. Close to 80 lakh voters are expected to exercise their franchise across 12 districts.
Four assembly seats in Guwahati, besides 8 seats in BTR and the constituencies in lower Assam will go to polls in the final phase.
In the third and final phase of the poll, several prominent candidates are in the fray including senior BJP leader and NEDA convenor Himanta Biswa Sarma who will be contesting from Jalukbari constiturncy, state BJP president Ranjeet Kumar Dass from Patacharkuchi, Minister Siddhartha Bhattacharya from Gauhati East and Chandra Mohan Patowary from Dharampur.
The fates of Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) candidate Phanibhushan Choudhary from Bongaigaon, Bodoland People’s Front’s (BPF) Pramila Rani Brahma from Kokrajhar-East, and Chandan Brahma from Sidli, independent candidate and Lok Sabha MP Naba Hira Kumar Sarania from Barama will also be decided.
From BJP, MLAs Atul Bora from Dispur, and Suman Haripriya from Hajo are also in the fray.
The fate of sitting Congress MLA Rekibuddin Ahmed, former AGP MLA Kamala Kalita from Chaygaon, and Assam Jatiya Parishad (AJP) working president Pabindra Deka from Pathacharkuchi will also be decided in the third phase.
Barama constituency, from where Kokrajhar’s Lok Sabha MP Naba Kumar Sarania is contesting the polls as an Independent candidate will also go into polling in the last phase.
Both NDA and Congress-led Mahajot have done hectic campaigning in the poll-bound constituencies.
A lot will be at stake for the BJP and Mahajot in BTR and Lower Assam while all eyes will also be on the four seats in Guwahati.
BJP’s alliance includes the Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) and United People’s Party Liberal (UPPL).
The Congress has stitched a broad alliance called the Mahajot, which includes 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 People’s Front (BPF).
Jailed activist Akhil Gogoi’s Raijor Dal has stitched an alliance with Assam Jatiya Parishad.
The main contest is seen to be between the BJP-led NDA and Congress-led Mahajot.
Though both parties are claiming victory, the statistics and voting percentage of the last election show the battle is crucial for both NDA and also Mahajot, as in the 2016 assembly Congress and AIUDF fought separately.
In the last election, while Congress got 30.9 per cent of the vote share, AIUDF got 13 per cent of vote share. On the other hand, BJP had 29.5 per cent and its allies AGP and BPF got 8.1 and 3.9 per cent of the votes. As this time Congress and AIUDF are in alliance with other partners, it may create a problem for NDA.
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.
To conduct free and fair polls, Election Commission has deputed 17 expenditure observers and 986 micro observers in Assam. Along with that 320 units of Para Military forces, and a party comprising one constable, and one home guard in each police station have been deployed to maintain law and order at polling stations.
Over 79 lakh electors, including 40,11,539 males, 39,07,963 females, and 139 persons of the third gender will cast their votes in this phase. Assam’s Dharmapur constituency with 1,41,592 votes has the lowest number of voters. Dispur LAC constituency with 4,11,636 has the largest number of electors.
Gauhati West constituency with 15 candidates has the highest number of candidates in the fray. The Boko (SC) seat with three candidates has the least number of candidates on the ground.
The first phase took place on March 27 with a voter turnout of nearly 77 per cent, while a voter turnout of nearly 74.76 per cent was recorded in the second phase of polling on April 1.
The counting of votes for all the phases will take place on May 2.