Jorhat, Oct. 2: After the euphoria over winning the panchayat and Guwahati Municipal Corporation elections, the Congress is sweating it out for a good performance in the two-phase Mising Autonomous Council election tomorrow and on October 7.
The Takam Mising Porin Kebang and the Mising Mimang Kebang-backed Ganashakti has emerged as a strong contender especially in the underdeveloped pockets in the North Bank districts of Lakhimpur and Dhemaji.
Majuli, which has a sizeable Mising population and three seats in the council, has witnessed frequent clashes between the Congress and Ganashakti supporters since the election dates were announced and the start of campaigning. This is the first election to the council set up in 1995.
Fear of trouble in a few constituencies has made the state election commission “take extra care” in Majuli (Jorhat district) and Dhakuakhana (Lakhimpur district), where there were problems between rival parties during campaigning.
“Security is adequate but we have taken special care in these two constituencies. Since Majuli is isolated, we have moved two additional superintendents of police, an additional deputy commissioner and two magistrates from Jorhat to the island,” state election commissioner Biren Dutta said.
The Congress, the BJP, the AGP and Ganashakti are the four parties in fray but the fight is likely to be between the Congress and Ganashakti, which has a strong presence in the Jorhat-Dhemaji-Lakhimpur belt. Since it is not recognised by the commission, Ganashakti candidates will fight as Independents.
Premadhar Doley, Ganashakti leader in Majuli, said all the three seats in the island would go to Ganashakti because of disenchantment with the Congress. “There has been no development in Mising areas since Independence. Most areas are prone to erosion and floods and development has taken a backseat owing to corrupt officials,” he said. Jorhat district president of Takam Mising Porin Kebang, Bhabhesh Doley, reiterated Ganashakti’s supremacy for the Jorhat seat.
This was, however, refuted by Muhidhar Doley, a Congress anchalik parishad member. However, voters gave a mixed response with many saying they would vote for Ganashakti for the three Majuli seats but in Jorhat, the wave seemed to be in favour of the Congress.
A Congress supporter at Kareng Sapori village said it was good the Misings had formed a party of their own but forceful garnering of votes would not help them. In Dhemaji and Lakhimpur districts too, the tussle is between the two parties. A source in Lakhimpur hinted the Congress had reached a secret understanding with Ganashakti and would leave a number of seats to the regional party in the two districts. In return, the Congress will ask for support in the forthcoming Lok Sabha election, where the Congress does not seem to be on a strong ground owing to a number of reasons, particularly underdevelopment, according to the source. The council has 40 members, of which 36 will be elected. However, polls to two constituencies in Dhemaji district, which has 17 constituencies, the highest among the eight districts, was put off earlier because of constituency demarcation issues.
The first phase tomorrow will see polls to 25 constituencies while the remaining nine constituencies in Dhemaji sub-division will be held on October 7.
In all, 3.5 lakh voters will exercise their franchise in the first phase, which has 110 candidates. The second phase has 95,000 and 25 candidates. The Desang Dikhow constituency of the Mising council in Sivasagar district will also go to the polls tomorrow. Altogether 12,172 voters will decide the fate of four candidates.