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Guwahati: The high-voltage campaign ended on Saturday in Assam with the remaining 61 of 126 Assembly constituencies going to polls in the second and final phase on April 11.
Political parties went all-out to woo the 1,04,35,271 electorate, including 53,91,204 males, 50,44,051 females and 22 others, who will decide the fate of 525 candidates – 477 males and 48 females – in the 61 constituencies spread across Lower and Central Assam.
The campaign was characterised by a no-holds barred tirade of allegations and counter allegations with Congress going all-out to retain power for the fourth successive term while the BJP-AGP-BPF alliance attempting to wrest it from the ruling party and AIUDF claiming to be the ‘king-maker’ in the next government formation.
Campaigning in several constituencies of second phase, which has a predominant minority population, focussed primarily on the issue of infiltration.
While BJP pledged to resolve the issue by completely sealing the Indo-Bangla border, Congress contended that there was no Bangladeshi in Assam and it was the Tarun-Gogoi led government that took the initiative to update the National Register of Citizens (NRC) to resolve the issue.
The campaigning reached its peak on the last day with on one hand Union Minister Rajnath Singh, BJP president Amit Shah and the alliance’s Chief Ministerial candidate Sarbananda Sonowal wooing the electorate and on the other Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi along with senior Congress leaders making last-minute appeals to the voters.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who led the BJP-AGP-BPF alliance campaign in both the phases, addressed four marathon election rallies and offered prayers at Kamakhya Temple. For Congress, party president Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi, state chief Anjan Dutta along with former UPA ministers Ghulam Nabi Azad, Jairam Ramesh, Salman Khurshid, Sachin Pilot among others who campaigned for its candidates.
Among other prominent personalities who also campaigned in the second phase included Union Minister Nitin Gadkari for BJP, former MP Priya Dutt, actor turned politician and ex-MP Raj Babbar, President Pranab Mukherjee’s daughter Sharmistha Mukherjee for Congress.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi upped their ante against each other.
While Modi accused the state government of widespread corruption and failure to bring development, Gogoi accused the Centre for its alleged failure to fulfil the various poll promises made before the last Lok Sabha elections and curtailment of funds and special category status to Assam.
While BJP’s campaign was marked by an appeal to the electorate to vote for ‘parivartan’ (change) to bring development, Congress highlighted its various achievements, including improvement of law and order situation, during the last 15 years of its rule.
Congress is contesting in 57 seats, AIUDF, the major opposition party in the outgoing Assembly in 47, BJP in 35 while its allies – Bodo Peoples’ Front (BPF) in 10 and Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) in 19. (PTI)