Over 70% polling in Assam in IInd Phase

Peaceful polling in Assam

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Assam polled peacefully in the second phase today recording 74 per cent polling till the filing of this report.

There has been no untoward incident whatsoever as weather opens up and since morning there were long queues before the polling booth.

Majority of the votes were cast before lunch as post lunch the polling slowed down. The polling was heavy in the Muslim dominated constituencies like Nagaon Mangaldoi and it is expected that in the final count some of these would actually cross 80 per cent.

It is a close race in Nagaon and Mangaldoi seat while in Karimgajanj, AIUDF is the third player in the ring, However in the Autonomous seat, it is BJP in one track race.

As many as 69,10,592 voters including 33,55,952 female voters will decide the electoral fate of 50 candidates in the second phase of Lok Sabha Elections of the five seats in Assam. There are as many as 14 candidates in the fray for the Karimganj LS seat, while 13 candidates are in fray for the Silchar seat. Similarly, for Autonomous District (Diphu) seat, there are 5 candidates in the fray and 11 and 7 candidates are in fray for Mangaldoi as well as for Nowgong constituencies respectively.

There will be a triangular contest between Congress, BJP and AIUDF for the Karimganj seat and straight contest between Congress and BJP in the remaining four seats. BJP’s decision to implement the CAB is likely to reversely affect the voters in Nowgong and Mangaldoi. And hence the phase-II of the polls are likely to be tough for the saffron party.

Out of these five constituencies, Nowgong and Mangaldoi are in BJP’s hold, whereas Congress has two MPs in Silchar and Autonomous District constituencies. AIUDF has Karimganj constituency in its hand.

The BJP has denied tickets to both the sitting MPs in Mangaldoi and Nowgong and fielded youth leader Dilip Saikia from Mangaldoi and Rupak Sharma from Nowgong. Sitting MP of Nowgong, Rajen Gohain was not seen campaigning wholeheartedly for Rupak Sharma. In last two elections, AIUDF has divided the votes and indirectly cleared the path for the BJP candidate to win in Nowgong. But Badruddin Ajmal-led party has not fielded any candidates from the Nowgong seat in this election. There are 17,90,684 voters in Nowgong, out of which around 5.25 lakhs are religious minorities.

BJP has their hold in Mangaldoi since 2009 but due to the CAB issue, the party denied ticket to sitting MP Ramen Deka and fielded youth leader Dilip Saikia from the seat. On the other hand, Congress has fielded Rajya Sabha MP and senior party leader Bhubaneswar Kalita from the seat. Kalita has been vocal against the CAB in Rajya Sabha. He is also a former Minister of Assam. AIUDF has not fielded any candidates from the seat and the religious minorities are seems to be in favour of Congress. Kalita has already drawn the attention of voters from the minority dominated assembly constituencies like Dalgaon, Mangaldoi, Sipajhar etc. However, BJP has been continuously trying to attract the Bodo voters with the help of its ally BPF. The party is also hopeful with the voters of Nalbari, Rangiya and Kamalpur etc. assembly constituencies. There are 17,95,529 voters in Mangaldoi. Hence there will be a tough fight between BJP and Congress in this constituency.

On the other hand, the fight for the Autonomous District LS seat is unpredictable as the political parties have failed to attract the voters with new promises. The leaders of the political parties seemed to be engaged in war of words among them during the campaigning process. There are more than 7 lakh voters in the constituencies and the major fight is in between Congress and BJP. After CM Sarbananda Sonowal, Ram Madhav, Angoorlata Deka, Hagrama Mohilary and Biswajit Daimary, Assam Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma also campaigned for BJP candidate Horen Sing Bey in Diphu and Baithalangso. BJP is ruling both the autonomous councils under the constituency. Interestingly, Congress has not organised any mega rally in support of Biren Singh Engti in the constituency. There was a hype that party president Rahul Gandhi would take part in a campaign for Engti, but expectation of the Congress workers went in vain as Rahul did not turn up for campaign in support of Engti. The party has organised several small meetings across the constituency in support of their candidate. Ahead of the election, former MLA Samarjit Haflongbar has joined the Congress and recently CPI (ML) and HSDC have extended their support to Engti. On the other hand, several Congress leaders, who were the supporters of Congress ticket contender Khorsing Engti, have joined the BJP. However, Khorsing Engti took part in two election meetings at Laharijan and Howraghat under Bokajan assembly constituency. Biren Singh Engti tried to attract the non-tribal voters during his campaign. Meanwhile, BJP candidate Horen Sing Bey has been opposing the proposed ST (Hills) status to Bodo communities living in the constituency. BJP government in the Centre has been taking initiative to grant ST (Hills) status to the Bodo communities living in the constituency. Notably, the newly formed rebel organization DNLA has called for 36-hour bandh during the time of polling. Though BJP candidate Horen Sing Bey is emerging as more powerful among the five candidates; Congress’ sitting MP Biren Singh Engti and ASDC’s Holiram Terang are also likely to give tough fight to the saffron candidate. There are 7,95,085 voters in the constituency.

Meanwhile, 13 candidates are in fray for the Silchar Lok Sabha seat and there are 11,91,289 voters in the constituency. BJP has fielded Rajdeep Roy against Congress’ sitting MP Sushmita Dev. Both of them belong to linguistic minority community. There are large numbers of linguistic minorities in the constituency and hence sitting MP Sushmita Dev was not seen opposing the CAB inside or outside the parliament. Though the Congress has opposed the Bill in Brahmaputra valley, the party leaders including Sushmita Dev, Kamalakhya Purukayastha supported it in Barak valley. Apart from linguistic minorities, religious minorities also play a vital role in the constituency. For two occasions, PM Narendra Modi has campaigned for BJP candidate Rajdeep Roy, while Priyanka Gandhi took part in a rally in support of Sushmita in the constituency. With several road-shows by both ruling and opposition party, the Silchar constituency has already become a high-profile seat for this elections.

On the other hand, there will be triangular contest in Karimganj. There are 13,38,005 voter in the constituency and the constituency is reserved for SC. AIUDF has fielded its sitting MP Radheshyam Biswas from the seat, while BJP fielded Kripanath Mallah and Congress’ has fielded new candidate Swarup Das. Apart from linguistic minorities and religious minorities, the tea tribe voters also play a deciding role the constituency. AIUDF’s Radheshyam Biswas has the dominance over the religious minorities in the constituency. The votes of the religious minorities might get divided between Congress and AIUDF and BJP is expecting to take that chance.

(With inputs from Asomiya Pratidin)
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