This phase will decide the fate of 337 candidates across 40 constituencies of 12 districts in the state, including senior minister and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Hemanta Biswa Sarma in the Jalukbari constituency.
BJP leaders campaigning in the state claimed that the BJP-AGP (Asom Gana Parishad) has reached the ‘magic number’ to form the government in the first two phases, and combined with results of voting in the last phase they will form the government in Assam with a thumping majority.
Union Home Minister Amit Shah was scheduled to hold three election rallies in the state but they were cut short as he rushed back to Delhi following the Bijapur naxal attack in Chhattisgarh.
Incumbent Chief Minister Sarbanada Sonowal, meanwhile, held six rallies and huge crowds were seen at the rallies by Minister Hemanta Biswa Sarma in Jalukbari, a day after the elections commission reduced his “debarment from campaign” period from 48 hours to 24 hours.
Sarma had been barred from campaigning for Assam elections for 48 hours earlier on Friday for his remark against Bodoland People’s Front Chairperson Hagrama Mohilary.
This year, the main contest is between the alliances led by the BJP and Congress.
The BJP-led led alliance also includes the Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) and United People’s Party Liberal (UPPL).
The Congress has stitched a broad alliance called the Mahajath, which includes All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF), Communist Party of India, the Communist Party of India (Marxist), the Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) Liberation, the Anchalik Gana Marcha (AGM) and the Bodoland Peoples’ Front (BPF).
Jailed activist Akhil Gogoi’s Raijor Dal has stitched an alliance with Assam Jatiya Parishad.
The BJP is banking on the performance of the Sarbanand Sonowal government in the state in the past five years, the initiatives of the central government and the appeal of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
The Mahajath, too intensified its efforts on the last day of campaigning. All India United Democratic Front (AIAUDF) chief Badruddin Ajmal’s son Abdur Rahim claimed that the next government in the state will be formed by the “dadhi, topi, lungiwallah” people.
Apart from Prime Minister Narendra Modi, senior BJP leaders including union ministers Amit Shah, Smriti Irani, Jitendra Singh, Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan have campaigned in the state.
The BJP has been targeting Congress over its alliance with AIUDF and has been raising the issue of infiltration. Party leaders have said that Congress has allied with those who have “favoured infiltration”.
The party has also promised to free the state of the problem of recurrent floods.
“We have been charged as communal but it’s actually them (Congress). In Assam, they are with Badruddin. We are retaining the government of NDA along with UPPL (United People’s Party Liberal) and AGP,” said BJP national president JP Nadda at a press conference in Guwahat on Sunday.
Congress Party leaders Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra have also campaigned in the state. The latter was scheduled to campaign in the state but had to cancel it as her husband Robert Vadra tested positive for Covid-19.
The Congress has promised five lakh government jobs to youth in five years, 200 units of free electricity, taking daily- wage of tea garden workers to Rs 365 and Rs 2,000 per month to homemakers. Congress has made representations to the poll panel for alleged violation of the model code of conduct by BJP leaders.
A total of 200 companies of Central Armed Police Forces (CAPFs) will be moved from Assam after the third phase of polling on April 6, to be deployed in West Bengal, another poll-bound state.
Over 79 lakh electors, including 40,11,539 males, 39,07,963 females and 139 persons of the third gender will cast their votes in this phase.
Apart from Hemanta Biswa Sarma, BJP minister Chandra Mohan Patowary from Dharampur, education minister Siddhartha Bhattacharya from Gauhati East, and BJP state chief Ranjeet Kumar Dass from Patacharkuchi are also in the fray in the state.
The fates of AGP candidate Phanibhushan Choudhary from Bongaigaon, Bodoland People’s Front’s (BPF) Pramila Rani Brahma from Kokrajhar-East, independent candidate and Lok Sabha MP Naba Hira Kumar Sarania from Barama will also be decided.
The statistics and voting percentage of the last election show it is crucial for BJP-led NDA and also for Congress-led Mahajot, as in the 2016 assembly election, Congress and AIUDF fought separately.
While Congress got 30.9 per cent of the vote share, AIUDF got 13 per cent of the vote share, BJP had 29.5 per cent and its allies AGP and BPF got 8.1 and 3.9 per cent of the votes.
The BJP formed the first party-led government in Assam after the 2016 elections. BJP and its allies won 86 out of 126 seats and ousting the Tarun Gogoi-led Congress government which ruled the state for 15 years.
The first phase took place on March 27 with a voter turnout of nearly 77 per cent, while a voter turnout of nearly 74.76 per cent was recorded in the second phase of polling on April 1.
After the April 6 voting, counting of votes will take place on May 2. (ANI)