First phase of Assam and West Bengal polls underway

RSTV Bureau

The high-pitched canvassing by national and state leaders for the first phase of Assembly elections in Assam ended Saturday evening after reaching a crescendo with last minute poll promises and allegations.

The Election Commission has made elaborate arrangements in all the poll bound areas to ensure free and fair elections where a total of one crore 98 lakh voters take part in electoral process.

BJP President Amit Shah and Union Minister and BJP's CM candidate Sarbananda Sonowal. Photo-PTI

BJP President Amit Shah and Union Minister and BJP’s CM candidate Sarbananda Sonowal.

65 constituencies of the 126 seat Assembly will go to polls in this phase on April 4, Monday. In the adjacent state, West Bengal, Campaigning ends for the 18 constituencies going for polls on April 4.

EC has directed all the electorates, who have been issued Elector’s Voter Identity Card, to produce the EPIC for their identification at the polling stations before casting votes. It has also declared public holiday on April 4 in the areas falling under those assembly constituencies which are going to the polls in the first phase.

The Election Commission has announced two-phase voting for the 14th Assam assembly elections on April 4 and 11, while the votes will be counted on May 19. The tenure of the Tarun Gogoi led- Congress government comes to an end in June.

The political leaders on Saturday made last minute efforts to woo the 95,11,732 electorate, including 45,95,712 females, who will exercise their franchise in the first phase to decide the fate of 539 candidates- 496 males and 43 females, in fray for the first phase in 50 constituencies of Brahmaputra Valley and 15 in Barak Valley.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi led the campaign from the front for the BJP-AGP-BPF alliance in the state along with party president Amit Shah and Union Ministers Rajnath Singh, Sushma Swaraj, Nitin Gadkari, Smriti Irani, Juel Oram and Sarbananda Sonowal, who is also the party’s chief ministerial candidate.

Tarun Gogoi, Assam Chief MInister. Photo-PTI

Tarun Gogoi, Assam Chief MInister.

For Congress, it was party President Sonia Gandhi, Vice-president Rahul Gandhi, Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi, state unit president Anjan Dutta along with former UPA ministers Ghulam Nabi Azad, Jairam Ramesh, Salman Khurshid among others who campaigned for its candidates.

In 2011, the Tarun Gogoi lead Congress government secured 78 seats of the 126 member Assembly to form the government. But in 2014 Lok Sabha elections BJP won 7 of the 14 seats and Congress managed to get only 3 seats and Badruddin Ajmal’s AIUDF won 3 seats.

Poll bound Assam witnessed a high voltage political campaign by BJP and Congress. Taking queue from the party’s victory in Lok Sabha polls, Congress campaigned in full swing in the first phase constituencies and sought power for a five year term. BJP and Congress alleged each other for the backwardness of the state.

The first phase of Assam is attracting the eye balls as the chief ministerial nominees of Congress and BJP will test their fate. Congress Party’s senior leader and incumbent Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi is contesting from Titabar seat in Jorhat district where as BJP’s CM face and union Minister Sarbananda Sonowal is contesting from the island constituency Majuli.

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee in a rally in support of Trinamool Congress. Photo PTI

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee in a rally in support of Trinamool Congress.
Photo PTI

In West Bengal 18 constituencies spread over Paschim Medinipur, Purulia and Bankura districts will go to polls in this phase on April 4.

The elections to the 294 seat West Bengal assembly will be conducted in six phases, spread across seven polling days from April 4 to May 5.

The state goes to polls in the first phase on April 4 in which 65 of the 126 assembly constituencies will go to the hustings.