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Assam poll trends: BJP crosses halfway mark, leads in 78 seats

Congress-Left alliance ahead in 46 constituencies
Chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal

Our Bureau, Agencies   |   Calcutta, New Delhi   |   Published 02.05.21, 09:39 AM

The ruling BJP in Assam crossed the halfway mark as the Sarbananda Sonowal-led party took a lead in 78 seats, while the Congress is ahead in 46 seats, according to .

Counting of votes for the assembly elections in Assam is underway with strict adherence to health protocols as it is taking place amid a raging second wave of COVID-19. An average 82.04 per cent voter turnout was recorded in the elections to 126 assembly constituencies in Assam.

Seats: 126

Voters: 2.33 crore

Voting: held over three phases from March 27, April 1 and April 6

Incumbent: NDA (BJP 60, Asom Gana Parishad 14, Bodoland People’s Front 12)

Majority mark: 63

In Assam, the BJP, led by chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal, formed its first government in 2016 with a tally of 86 seats along with its alliance partner Asom Gana Parishad. The Congress, which had governed the state for 15 years, was reduced to 26.

This time, the BJP, Asom Gana Parishad and United People’s Party Liberal are contesting the polls in alliance, while the Congress has joined forces with traditional Left parties, Bodoland People’s Front and the All-India United Democratic Front (AIUDF). While the Congress in Bengal dithered over its alliance with the Indian Secular Front, the party’s Assam unit has been upbeat about the alliance with the largely Muslim AIUDF to take on the BJP. About 34 per cent of the population in Assam is Muslim. In North Assam, the Assam Jatiya Parishad and the Raijor Dal could eat into the votes of the NDA partner, AGP.

Poll issues

CAA: The Congress has put the contentious citizenship act at the forefront of its campaign with the party’s former president, Rahul Gandhi, having made it clear that they would scrap the provision in Assam. The BJP on the other hand is firm on its decision to implement the act.

Tea gardens: In the Union budget for the 2021-22 fiscal, Rs 1,000 crore was earmarked for the tea gardens in Assam and Bengal. The announcement was made in February keeping in mind the coming elections. Despite Assam being the largest producer of tea, its labourers are the least paid at Rs 167 per day, far lower than Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Bengal. In 2016, the BJP manifesto promised Rs 351.33 as minimum wage for tea labourers. This time, the Congress has promised wages at Rs 365 per day.

Floods: Since 2016, 124 lakh people have been displaced in successive floods. The BJP has promised to make Assam free from floods, like it had promised in 2016.

Key candidates

Chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal is contesting from Majuli, the largest river island in the world, while the Number Two in the cabinet, Himanta Biswa Sarma, is seeking a fifth consecutive term from Jalukbari. At Titabor, the seat represented by the late chief minister, Tarun Gogoi, the Congress has fielded Bhaskarjyoti Barua.

Campaign bytes

If people wear masks, how will beauty parlours run?

Himanta Biswa Sarma, state finance and health minister

You know about the five guarantees of the Congress. Let me guarantee a sixth, that the Mahajot government will not let Assam be controlled by either Nagpur or Delhi if voted to power.

Rahul Gandh, Congress MP

I want to tell you about a conspiracy hatched to defame the country. The conspirators have not even spared Indian tea. They are saying that the image of Indian tea has to be defamed worldwide, systematically.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi

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