Hailakandi, April 9: About 30,000 residents of five villages in Hailakandi district of Barak valley have decided to boycott the Lok Sabha elections to protest against the slow pace of construction of the Paikan-Barbond road under the Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana scheme.
Five years ago, Rs 4 crore was sanctioned for the project but the slow pace of work has prompted the inhabitants of Rangauti, Paikan, Lamargram, Dudpur and Barbond not to exercise their franchise.
Hailakandi district falls under Assam’s Karimganj parliamentary constituency, which goes to polls in the second phase on April 12.
Similarly, the people of the Panchgram and Badarpur areas are also unhappy with the sluggish pace of erosion-control work along a stretch of National Highway 53 that connects Silchar to Karimganj and Tripura. Severe erosion started along the banks of the Barak river three years ago, eating away portions of the national highway.
The Border Roads Organisation is executing the erosion-control project at a cost of Rs 60 crore.
The residents of the area have also raised questions about sitting MP Lalit Mohan Suklabaidya for the prevailing state of affairs.
Though there are 15 candidates in the fray, a triangular contest — between the Congress, BJP and AIUDF — is on the cards.
Among the candidates are Krishna Das (BJP), sitting MP Suklabaidya (Congress), Radheshyam Biswas (AIUDF), Rinku Malakar (Samajwadi Party), Tarun Kumar Das (Aam Aadmi Party), Rabindranath Choudhury (AGP), Prabhas Chandra Sarkar (SUCI). There are eight independent candidates — Subhas Das, Sajalendu Malakar, Pintu Malakar, Sujit Mallick, Gautam Malakar, Sanjit Kumar Das, Mahananda Das and Pradip Suklavaidya.
The campaign in-charge and national secretary of the BJP’s Mahila Morcha — Sipra Goon — said their main poll plank was security for the people and development. The BJP is also hopeful of getting the most of 1.5 lakh tea garden voters of the constituency. The Congress is also making development its main issue, state public health engineering minister Gautam Roy, who is leading the Congress campaign, said. The Congress has also engaged all the elected panchayat representatives to campaign for the party representative.
On the other hand, the AIUDF is campaigning mostly in rural areas, trying to capitalise on the alleged failure of the Congress over the past 10 years. Its candidate, Radheshyam Biswas, has ruled out any tie-up with the Congress and said he would win the seat as the minority community had already decided to vote for him. Biswas has assured the people that his party would provide all benefits to people from the minority community.
The AGP, Aam Aadmi Party and Samajwadi Party are yet to intensify their campaigns. The AGP is missing Sahidul Alam Choudhury who passed away two years back.
Karimganj has 11,65,706 voters. Of them, 6,13,361 are male and 5,52,345 are female. There are 2,765 doubtful voters. The constituency has 1,504 polling booths. Of them, 694 are sensitive and 529 are hypersensitive.