Marketing campaign for first part ballot in Assam ends


Guwahati, March 25

The high-pitched campaign for the first phase of poll in Assam in 47 assembly constituencies slated for March 27 came to an end on Thursday evening.

The poll on Saturday will decide the fate of 247 candidates.

Implementation of the Citizenship Amendment Act, 2019 was the central issue in the state, which was rocked by violence and protests against it, but BJP, which had steered the central legislation in Parliament maintained a studied silence on it. The issue did not find place in the campaigning by the party nor in its manifesto.

However, party president J P Nadda’s comment that it is an act of Parliament and will be implemented saw protests across the state by political parties students union AASU.

The Congress on the other hand assured that if voted to power, it will bring a legislation in the assembly so that the act is not implemented in Assam.

The hectic campaigning for the first phase was marked by poll meetings by several national leaders of the ruling BJP and the opposition Congress, who criss crossed the state to garner support for their respective parties.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi had led the campaign brigade for BJP and its alliance partner, the Asom Gana Parishad (AGP). The other BJP leaders who wooed the voters in Assam were BJP President J P Nadda, Union Home Minister Amit Shah, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Tomar, who is also partys state in-charge.

The others leaders from outside to hold campaign rallies were Textile and Handloom Minister Smriti Iraniand chief ministers Yogi Adityanath and Shivraj Singh Chouhan.

Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal and BJP state unit President Ranjeet Kumar Dass and North East Democratic Alliance convenor and state minister Himanta Biswa Sarma campaigned in the constituencies which are spread across upper and central Assam.

The highlight of the opposition Congress campaign was the visit of its top leaders Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra in the tea belt, besides Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel, who is in charge of the party’s campaign in Assam.

Other leaders who campaigned for Congress included former Maharashtra chief minister Ashok Chavan, AICC general secretary Randeep Singh Surjewala and Gaurav Gogoi, the chairman of the manifesto committee.

The Congress in its campaign presented its ‘five guarantees’. These are five lakh government jobs to youths in five years, 200 units of free electricity for every household, increasing the daily wages of the tea garden workers to Rs 365 and Rs 2000 per month to homemakers, besides the legislation against the implementation of the CAA.

The newly floated political parties Assam Jatiya Parishad and Raijor Dal relied mostly on door-to-door campaigns and street corner meetings.

With ‘Rongali Bihu’, the popular spring festival of the Assamese about a fortnight away, supporters of the political parties were seen dancing the ‘jhumur’, the folk dance of the tea tribes or swaying to their election songs which have become particularly popular among the voters.

Prominent among those whose fates will be decided in the first phase are Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal, Speaker Hitendra Nath Goswami, ministers Atul Bora, Keshab Mahanta, Ranjit Dutta, Naba Kumar Doley, Sanjoy Kishan and Nazir Hussain.

The others are Assam Pradesh Congress Committee President Ripun Bora, Congress Legislature Party leader Debabrata Saikia, AICC secretary Bhupen Borah and former ministers of the party Bharat Narah, Pranatee Phukan and Rakibul Hussain.

The fates of jailed Raijor Dal president Akhil Gogoi and Assam Jatiya Parishad president Lurinjyoti Gogoi along with his party general secretary Jagadish Bhuyan will also be decided in the first phase.

BJP is contesting in 39 of the 47 seats while its alliance partner the AGP in 10, including two where it is in friendly contest against the saffron party. The Congress is contesting in 43 seats and its allies AIUDF, RJD, Anchalik Gana Morcha (as independent) and CPI-ML in one seat each.

Assam Jatiya Parishad is contesting in 41 seats while the Raijor Dal is contesting in 19 seats as independents. A total of 78 independents are in the fray in the first phase.

There are 23 women candidates in the fray in the first phase, Election Commission sources said. PTI



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