Kalaigaon, Apr 6: Factionalism, Independent candidates and rebel leaders, it is an interesting electoral battle in the offing for this constituency in Bongaigaon district of lower Asom.
Known as a Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) bastion, the constituency is expected to witness a triangular contest between the AGP, the Congress and ALDF. This will be among the 61 constituencies which would go to polls in the second phase on April 10.
AGP candidate Mukanda Rai Choudhury's selection has not gone down well with the party workers and Kandarpa Kalita, former district secretary of darang district, who was denied the party ticket this time is contesting as an independent, which will surely hit AGP's prospects. Mahendra Rai Choudhury, who won from here on AGP ticket in 1985 and 1996 will also cut into APG votes.
From the Congress, two time MP from Mangal Dai constituency, madhab Ch. Rajbongshi's candidature has made the battle more interesting.
But, here again, Asom United Democratic Front's Motleb Ali, who has quite a a following among the Muslims here may eat into the Congress' share.
The sitting MLA Nathuram Rao, is contesting as a Bodoland Peoples' Progressive Front (BPPF) faction (RM Group) candidate. He had won it on a BPPF ticket. However, barring a few skirmishes, polling in the first phase, went off peacefully, which has raised the hopes for the April 10 polling for the second phase. The turnout was 68 per cent, a bit lower than the previous of almost 75 per cent.
The major challenge for the second phase for the administration would be ensuring free polls in four constituencies of Karbi Anglong district, which witnessed ethnic clashes last year.
Repolling was also done yesterday in five polling stations in Karinganj and Dibrligarh yesterday for reasons ranging from a bus carrying election material falling into a river to miscreatnts damaging electonic voting machines (EVMs), used extensively for the first time in state.
Though development has emerged as a major poll issue but it seems that it has been nothing more than an issue to garner votes considering the poor quality of life that the people are forced to lead with poor roads, communication, health facilities and lack of facilities for higher education in almost all of lower Asom.