Assam Assembly Elections 2021: This time, there is a direct contest between the NDA and the Grand Alliance in 25 constituencies, while the rest are witnessing triangular fights.
Up to 345 candidates, including four sitting ministers and the deputy speaker, face the polls today as the second phase of Assam’s assembly election is being held in 39 seats. Around 73.4 lakh people will be deciding their fate at over 10,000 polling stations. The ruling BJP and its allies had swept this chunk in the 2016 election. The party is, thus, contesting in 34 of the seats, while the opposition Congress is going for 28, leaving the rest to its Grand Alliance partners. Phase-I saw 79 per cent turnout.
Polling is being held from 7 am to 6 pm amid heavy security — 310 companies of forces have been deployed — and strict Covid-19 guidelines, officials said. Sanitisers, thermal scanners, soaps and handwashing facilities will be available at all polling stations, they said. Over 42,300 polling personnel have already been deployed.
The Hojai constituency has the highest number of voters at 2,65,886; Howraghat, reserved for Scheduled Tribes, has the lowest at 1,32,339, PTI reported.
The BJP’s allies Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) and the United People’s Party Liberal (UPPL) are fighting in six and three seats, respectively. The Grand Alliance’s AIUDF is contesting in seven and the Bodoland Peoples’ Front (BPF) in four. The newly-formed Assam Jatiya Parishad (AJP) is contesting in 19 seats.
In 2016, of these 39 seats, the BJP alone won 22 while the Asom Gana Parishad got two. The Bodoland People’s Front (BPF), a former BJP ally, had won four. This time, though, the BPF is part of the Congress-led Mahajoth. The main opposition party had last time won only six seats in this phase while the AIUDF won five.
This time, there is a direct contest between the NDA and the Grand Alliance in 25 constituencies, while the rest are witnessing triangular fights.
The ministers contesting today include Parimal Suklabaidya, Piyush Hazarika, and Bhabesh Kalita. Another one, Sum Ronghang, is locked in a direct fight against the BJP’s own Bidya Sing Engleng in Diphu — on being denied ticket this time, Mr Ronghang recently joined the Congress.
Deputy Speaker Aminul Haque Laskar of the BJP is in a straight contest with the AIUDF’s Karim Uddin Barbhuiyan in Sonai.
All eyes are on the highly polarised Barak Valley region. Up to 15 seats in this Bengali heartland will witness key contests. Since the Hindu and Muslim populations are almost equal here, the Congress’s joining hands with AIUDF’s Badruddin Ajmal is a major factor.
The Barak Valley is also the region that didn’t see any anti-CAA protests.
Algapur constituency has the highest number of 19 candidates, while there are only two in Udalguri (ST).