Assam: Voting for final phase of polls begins; high voter turnout expected - Hindustan Times
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Assam: Voting for final phase of polls begins; high voter turnout expected

Apr 06, 2021 08:39 AM IST

A total of 337 candidates (including 25 women) are contesting from 40 of the 126 seats in the state in the third phase. Over 7.9 million voters will cast their vote in 11,401 polling stations

Voting for 40 constituencies in the third and final phase of the ongoing assembly polls in Assam began at 7.00am on Tuesday.

An official makes preparations at a polling station on the eve of third phase of assembly election in Guahati, Assam. (AP)
An official makes preparations at a polling station on the eve of third phase of assembly election in Guahati, Assam. (AP)

People were seen queuing outside many polling stations; with the weather department predicting clear skies, a high voter turnout is expected.

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A total of 337 candidates (including 25 women) are contesting from 40 of the 126 seats in the state in the third phase. Over 7.9 million voters will cast their vote in 11,401 polling stations (including in 316 all-women ones).

The key candidates for third phase include Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader and senior minister Himanta Biswa Sarma (Jalukbari), BJP state president Ranjeet Kumar Dass (Patacharkuchi), Cabinet minister Siddhartha Bhattacharya (BJP-Guwahati East), Cabinet minister Phani Bhushan Choudhury (Asom Gana Parishad—Bongaigaon) and minister Pramila Rani Brahma (Bodoland Peoples’ Front—Kokrajhar East).

For complete coverage of Assam assembly election, click here

In the third phase, the ruling BJP has 20 candidates in the fray, while its alliance partners AGP and United Peoples Party Liberal (UPPL) will contest from 13 and 8 seats respectively. BJP and UPPL will have a friendly contest in one seat.

On the other hand, the opposition Congress is contesting 24 seats and its alliance partners All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF) and Bodoland People’s Front (BPF) have 12 and 8 candidates in the fray respectively.

Over 45,600 polling personnel are on duty on Tuesday, and 320 companies of security personnel have been deployed to maintain law and order. Each polling station will be manned by a constable and home guard.

In 2016, BJP won 11 of the 40 seats, Congress also won 11, AIUDF got 6, AGP won 4 and BPF got 8. But unlike last time when BPF was part of the BJP camp, the party has now switched sides and joined the Congress grand alliance while the saffron party has tied up with UPPL.

“The interesting contest of the third phase will be witnessed in the eight seats in Bodoland Territorial Region (BTR). Last time BPF had won all these seats,” said Solomon Islary, associate professor of political science at Kokrajhar-based Bodoland University.

“This time they have a contest with UPPL, which is part of the BJP alliance and came to power in the Bodoland Territorial Council (BTC) in December along with the saffron party. How many seats both these parties win or lose could decide which alliance will form the next government,” he added.

In 2016, the third phase had recorded 87.31% voting.

This time, the first phase held on March 27 for 47 seats recorded 79.97% polling and, in the second phase held on April 1 for 39 seats, the figure was 80.96%.

In 2016, BJP had won 60 seats and formed its first government in Assam with the support of AGP (14) and BPF (12). On the other hand, Congress had won 26 seats and AIUDF bagged 13.

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR
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    Utpal is a Senior Assistant Editor based in Guwahati. He covers seven states of North-East India and heads the editorial team for the region. He was previously based in Kathmandu, Dehradun and Delhi with Hindustan Times.

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