Assam

Assam Assembly Elections | Focus on Barak Valley, hills as phase 2 campaign ends

AGP and BJP supporters at a election rally in Guwahati on Tuesday.   | Photo Credit: Ritu Raj Konwar

Campaigning for the second phase of Assembly elections comprising 39 of Assam’s 126 constituencies ended at 6 p.m. on Tuesday. Elections in these seats across 13 districts in southern, central, and parts of northern and western Assam will be held on April 1.

The BJP and its ally Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) had won 25 of these 39 seats in 2016.

The focus in this phase is on the Bengali-dominated Barak Valley where support for the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA) is high among the Hindus unlike in the Assamese-dominated Brahmaputra Valley. The Barak Valley has 15 seats across three districts, and the BJP had won eight of these in 2016.

Unlike in West Bengal, the BJP has been vague about implementing the CAA in Assam. This may not affect the party’s Hindu vote bank, as many think it is a strategy not to annoy the party’s Assamese voters in Brahmaputra Valley.

The Congress, on the other hand, is believed to have gambled with its anti-CAA stand to appeal to a section of Hindu voters that are sceptical of the BJP’s intentions. This approach is expected to work in the seven Muslim-dominated seats in the valley, where All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF) and Congress had won four and three seats respectively in 2016. The two parties are allies this time.

The BJP is also be hoping to retain all the five seats across the three hill districts of Dima Hasao, Karbi Anglong and Western Karbi Anglong. The party has changed all but one candidate this time.

In the remaining 19 seats spread across central, and parts of northern and western Assam, the BJP and the AGP had won 12 seats in the last election. Erstwhile ally Bodoland People’s Front, the Congress and the AIUDF had won four, two and one respectively.

There are a total of 345 candidates, including 26 women, in the fray in the second phase, and 37 of them have criminal records. Their fate would be decided by a total of 73,44,631 voters, including 36,09,959 women and 135 transgenders.

The first phase of polling in 47 seats in eastern and parts of central Assam had recorded a turnout of 79.97%.

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Printable version | May 10, 2021 5:19:09 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/elections/assam-assembly/assam-polls-focus-on-barak-valley-hills-as-phase-2-campaign-ends/article34200619.ece

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