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Curtains doen for campaigning in Assam

Written by: Staff

Guwahati, Apr 8: The curtains came down on the frenzied campaigning for the second and final phase of election to 61 Assembly seats, mostly in lower and western Asom, on April 10.

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

In the first phase of election on April 3, altogether 65 constituencies went to the hustings.

Star campaigners from all the major political parties including Ms Sonia Gandhi, Ms Hema Malini, Ms Sushma Swaraj, Mr Pramod Mahajan, Mr Sachin Pilot, Ms Jayapradha, Ms Jaya Bachchan and Ms Smriti Irani added colour to the campaign.

The advent of new Muslim equation as well as bifurcation of Bodo society have made the politics of lower Asom more complex as no political party is expected to sweep the polls.

Polling personnel 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 has already been beefed up with police in all the poll-bound places keeping an hawk's eye on the ''anti-social'' elements. Many people have been detained as a precautionary measure.

With the Bodoland Territorial Area's District (BTAD) going to the polls in this phase, special security arrangements had been made there. Additional forces have already taken position in the BTAD areas to ensure violence-free polls.

Altogether 300 forces have 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 has been tightened at all entry and exit points. The security personnel of the neighbouring states had also been asked to keep an extra vigil in the run-up to the poll day.

Rain did play a spoilsport to a great extent but still political parties have left 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 positive weather in the final two days, candidates made the most of it.


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