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Stage set for round 2 of Assam rural polls

Ten districts will go to the polls on Sunday

Our Special Correspondent Guwahati Published 07.12.18, 07:25 PM
Participants in an election rally in Assam’s Nalbari on Friday, December 7, 2018.

Participants in an election rally in Assam’s Nalbari on Friday, December 7, 2018. UB Photos

The high-decibel campaign for the second phase of panchayat polls in Assam on Sunday ended at 3pm on Friday.

Repolling was also held in 15 booths in seven districts that voted in the first phase on Wednesday, which ended with a turnout of 73.16 per cent voters, state election commissioner H.N. Bora said.


The run-up to the second phase, as in the first phase, was marked by a no-holds-barred campaign by the BJP and the AGP, accusing each other of betraying the people. The Opposition Congress lodged complaints with the state election commission accusing the ruling parties of using the state machinery to woo voters.

The AGP and the BJP are contesting the polls alone though they are partners in the ruling alliance which came to power in 2016.

Ten districts will go to the polls on Sunday — Nalbari, Barpeta, Bongaigaon, Dhubri, South Salmara-Mankachar, Goalpara, Cachar, Hailakandi, Karimganj and Hojai.

Chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal addressed four rallies — two each in Nalbari and Barpeta districts — while finance minister Himanta Biswa Sarma addressed two rallies in Goalpara and Bongaigaon districts.

“For both phases of polls, Sarma addressed 33 rallies, Sonowal 31 rallies and BJP state president Ranjeet Kumar Dass attended 25. These figures exclude the meetings they addressed in their respective constituencies,” a BJP source said.

Choppers were extensively used by Sonowal, Sarma and AIUDF chief Badruddin Ajmal for electioneering.

According to the commission, the district administrations has reviewed and revised the poll arrangements for the second phase polling following reports of lapses at a few places in the first phase.

Security has been tightened in Barak Valley, where the contest is between the BJP, the Congress and the AIUDF, and lower Assam, where the AGP is a key contender. Forty-four candidates have already been declared winners uncontested in Cachar district.

Leader of the Opposition Debabrata Saikia on Wednesday lodged a complaint with the commission accusing transport minister Chandra Mohan Patowary of violating the model code of conduct.

Saikia said Patowary allegedly warned at a rally on Wednesday that the central and state governments would stop releasing funds if the people do not vote for the BJP.

“This sort of statement is tantamount to coercion and blackmailing of the electorate and makes a mockery of the right to exercise franchise without fear of punishment from the ruling regime,” he said.

Polling officers: The Goalpara administration on Friday sent polling officers to 62 booths. Among the 926 booths in the district, officers of 846 will leave on Saturday.

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