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FINAL round

- Rahul, Modi to woo Nagaon voters today

April 18: The star campaigners of the Congress and the BJP will arrive tomorrow to woo the voters of Assam for possibly the last time before the third and final phase of polls in the state.

BJP’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi will address three back-to-back rallies in the state tomorrow, including one at Nagaon where Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi will address the public a couple of hours before him.

Rahul will address only one rally from 11am at Nagaon’s ITI ground, which is 7km away from the venue of Modi’s rally that will be held at Borghat bypass from 1pm.

This will be the two leaders’ fourth visit to the state for electioneering, starting with Modi’s rally in Guwahati on February 8.

Rahul launched his Assam campaign on February 25 amid a bandh called by the KMSS to protest the self-immolation of one of its members.

The frequent visits by the two leaders shows that the state figures high in their scheme of things even though it has only 14 seats — of which the Congress won seven in 2009 and the BJP won four in alliance with the AGP.

Modi has also made trips to Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Meghalaya and Tripura while Rahul has travelled to Tripura, Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Meghalaya and Nagaland.

Narendra Modi wears a japi at a rally in Gogamukh. (AP)
Rahul Gandhi in traditional attire at a rally in Kohima. (PTI)

BJP and Congress insiders were upbeat about tomorrow’s rallies, asserting that they were not planned to coincide. It is a mere coincidence, the insiders said — adding they may come again for another round of campaigning before April 24 when six constituencies will go to the polls. They are Nowgong, Mangaldoi, Guwahati, Kokrajhar, Barpeta and Dhubri.

According to Nagaon police, three superintendents of police from outside the district and DIG (central range) P. Saloi will supervise security in the Borghat bypass area where Modi will address the rally.

“SPG, NSG, Gujarat police and armed police from outside the district have already reached the site,” a police source said.

Modi’s first rally of the day will be at Bortilapathar in Bongaigaon at 9.30am.

Bortilapathar, a public field in the Kakoijana area, is 138km from Guwahati and 16km from Bongaigaon district headquarters.

The district unit of the BJP has asked 500 volunteers to control the crowd from 10 Assembly segments under Barpeta Lok Sabha seat, which is held by the Congress.

Sarbhog BJP legislator and the in-charge of the rally, Ranjit Das, said of the three Assembly segments in Bongaigaon district, two are represented by AGP legislators and one by a Congress legislator. “To mobilise the people of these three Assembly constituencies, we decided to organise Modi’s rally at Bortilapathar — the convergence of the three Assembly seats in Bongaigaon district under Barpeta Lok Sabha seat,” Das said.

Party workers expect a gathering of nearly one lakh people from the 10 Assembly segments in Barpeta Lok Sabha seat at the rally.

According to party sources, Modi will land on the helipad near the venue and take off for Mangaldoi where he will address his second rally at Punia field.

“Buses and some light vehicles will be used to carry people from the Assembly seats under Barpeta Lok Sabha constituency,” a party worker said.

Modi will campaign for his party candidate, Ramen Deka, from Mangaldoi parliamentary constituency.

Sources said three-tier security arrangements had been made for Modi’s visit and 300 party members would assist in maintenance of law and order. A group of special policemen from Gujarat has already arrived at Mangaldoi to monitor the security arrangements.

Monoj Saharia, the president of the BJP’s Darrang district unit, said: “The venue for the rally is near NH 52 and parking space will be available.”

Another BJP leader in Darrang, Ashok Bhargob, said: “Modi’s visit to our district is a positive sign. His visit will boost our prospects in Mangaldoi. We are trying to make the rally the biggest one in Darrang.

“I am his fan but have not seen him in person. Tomorrow, I will get a chance to fulfil my dream of seeing him.”

In a boost to BJP workers in Dhubri, Modi will address a 3D rally at Bilasipara on Sunday.