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Electioneering for second phase Asom poll ends

Written by: Staff

Guwahati, Apr 8: Curtain on the hurly-burly of campaigning for the April 10 second and final phase election to 61 Assembly seats, mostly in Lower and Western Asom, was drawn today.

In the first phase election on April 3, altogether 65 constituencies went to the hustings sans a single major incident of violence.

The fate of 482 candidates - 451 male and 31 female - would be decided in Monday's poll.

The avalanche of star campaigners from all the major political parties, hovering of choppers and showering of promises had added colour to the electioneering.

Never before so many star campaigners from the likes of Sonia Gandhi to Hema Malini, from Sachin Pilot to Smriti Irani, from Jayapradha to Jaya Bhaduri had fanned out in every nook and corner of the state.

Asom never had an occasion to host so many important leaders at the same time as all the major political parties had realised that Asom is the only political theater where they can taste the mood of voters amongst the five states going to poll.

Kerela, West Bengal, Tamil Nadu and even Pondicherry in all probability would not give any chance to the Congress, the BJP or even the so called Third front because of dominating presence of Left and the regional parties in these states.

That was the reason Asom stole the limelight and became the biggest theater, which was also used to throw open the Third Front bringing tighter erstwhile NDA allies with the Left for a possible alliance sans the Congress and the BJP.

The advent of new Muslim equations as well as bifurcation of Bodo society had even made the politics of Lower Asom more complex as no political party could expect to sweep the poll.

Polling parties had already been deputed to their respective polling stations along with security personnel. As many as 8,995 polling booths are in place for the second phase.

Security had already been beefed up with the police in all the poll-bound places keeping a hawk's eye on the With the Bodoland Territorial Area's District (BTAD) going to the polls in this phase, special security arrangements had been made there. Additional forces had already taken position in the BTAD areas to ensure violence-free polls.

Altogether 300 forces had been deployed in the state for the two-phase polling in addition to the 117 companies already in the state. In the earlier polls, only about 50 additional Central forces had been sent to Asom.

With many of the poll-bound places in the second phase sharing international and inter-state boundaries, security had been tightened at all entry and exit points. The security personnel of the neighbouring states had also been asked to keep extra vigil in the run-up to the poll day.

Rain did play a spoilsport to a great extent but still political parties went on leaving no stone unturned. A number of "helicopter meetings" had to be cancelled due to inclement weather. But the rains also saw the parties come out with innovative means of campaigning.

However, with the weather looking up in the final two days, candidates made the most of it. From Congress' Sonia Gandhi to BJP's Sushma Swaraj and Pramod Mahajan, the same set of star campaigners returned to the state for the second phase campaigning.


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