Campaign ends for first phase polls
Guwahati, Apr 1: As the sun sets in the horizion, the heat and dust of electioneering in 65 constituencies of Asom settled down.
These constituencies are going to polls on Monday in the first phase when the fate of 515 candidates would be decided.
Campaigning for this phase was mostly violence free even as strict implementation of Election Commission's (EC) guidelines kept all on their toes.
The build up to the polls was rather slow this time as the parties failed to come out with the candidates' lists till the last moment. Appeasing dissidents and forging the right equations with prospective allies took up the major share of the leaders' time, leaving the campaigning part to be taken care of by the media cell managers.
For incumbent Congress, campaigning was in the form of regular meetings and other usual tactics of boasting of the government's achievements.
Besides highlighting the achievements of the past five years, they depended on their chief to add colour to the campaign. And to rescue she did come.
AICC chief Sonia Gandhi was the star attraction of the Congress campaign for the first phase. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's visit today, which wrapped up the party's campaign, proved to be the icing on the cake for the party.
For Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), it was a star-studded campaign all way through. From political leaders like party president Rajnath Singh, Ms Sushma Swaraj and Mr Narendra Modi, the BJP top leaders made a bevy for the state.
Adding glamour to the saffron party's campaign were 'Dream girl' Hema Malini, Smriti 'Tulsi' Irani and 'Yudhister' Gajendra Chouhan.
In between them came a number of other star campaigners like cricketer Navjot Singh Siddhu.
The Asom Gana Parishad (AGP), not to be left behind, also brought in their set of star campaigners. From Jaya Bachchan to Jaya Prada and from Chandrababu Naidu to Amar Singh, all shared the dais for the AGP. The main Opposition party in the state even managed to get a statement for the people from Amitabh Bachchan, with his wife carrying it to the state.
The Shahi Imam of Delhi's Jama Masjid was also in the state to campaign for a new floated party which had a strong Muslim base.
The Left parties too brought in their share of labour and trade union leaders, including Tripura Chief Minister Manik Sarkar and Bengal MP Hasan Mollah.
The EC's strict vigilance did somber down the campaigning a bit but it reached its climax on the final days. Banners and posters hung on every available pole as the EC banned the sticking of posters on walls. Make-shift party offices, bustling with activists, added a festive colour to the atmosphere.