Assam all set for final phase polling Monday

April 9th, 2011 - 6:18 pm ICT by IANS  

Bharatiya Janata Party Guwahati, April 9 (IANS) More than a month of the pre-poll slanging match between the ruling Congress and the opposition in Assam will end Monday when the second and final phase of assembly elections will be held in 64 of its 126 constituencies.

“We are ready for the second phase of elections and we hope it will be peaceful like the first phase,” an election official said Saturday.

As many as 496 candidates are in the fray for the second phase of polling spread over 14 Assam districts.

The first phase April 11 sealed the fate of 485 candidates with an estimated 73 percent polling recorded in 62 assembly seats.

The results will be declared May 13.

More than 40,000 police and paramilitary troopers were deployed in various places, with authorities not taking any chance despite a general lull on the insurgency front.

“We are hopeful of a peaceful election. All measures are being taken to ensure that militants and other elements do not sabotage the poll process,” a senior police official said.

Among the prominent candidates whose fate would be sealed Monday are Chandra Mohan Patowary, president of the main opposition Asom Gana Parishad (AGP), two time former chief minister and AGP senior Prafulla Kumar Mahanta, Congress ministers Himanta Biswa Sarma and Rockybul Hussain, besides at least 41 women candidates.

“Of the 62 seats in the first phase, we would get at least 40. Overall we expect to form the government for the third straight term,” Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi told IANS.

The AGP and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) are fighting the polls alone and both harp on the theme of corruption and lack of development.

“People want a change and for the better. They are fed up with the misrule and corruption of the last 10 years of Congress rule. The AGP is the only viable alternative and we hope to form the next government,” Patowary told IANS.

The BJP is equally confident.

“The people of Assam have seen and experienced both the Congress and the AGP, and now it is time for the BJP to deliver them a taste of what good governance is all about,” BJP state president Ranjit Dutta said.

Unlike in the past where the shadow of insurgency loomed large over every election, the run up to the polls this time has been peaceful with most of the rebel groups lying low.

The anti-dialogue faction of the outlawed United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA), however, has asked people to vote out the Congress.

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