Assembly elections 2016: Campaign ends in Assam, 31 West Bengal seats for April 11 vote

PM Narendra Modi, who led the campaign from the front for the BJP-AGP-BPF alliance in both the phases in Assam, addressed four election rallies.

PTI| Last Updated: Apr 09, 2016, 18:54 PM IST
Assembly elections 2016: Campaign ends in Assam, 31 West Bengal seats for April 11 vote

Guwahati/Kolkata: The high-decibel campaign ended on Saturday in Assam where BJP is locked in a riveting contest to wrest power from Congress, with remaining 61 of 126 Assembly constituencies going to polls on April 11 in the second and final phase.

In West Bengal, canvassing ended in 31 assembly seats spread over three districts of West Midnapore, Bankura and Burdwan where voting will be also held on Monday in the second part of phase one which will see many state opposition leaders in the fray.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who led the campaign from the front for the BJP-AGP-BPF alliance in both the phases in Assam, addressed four election rallies.

The issue of infiltration was in focus in this phase. There is a predominant minority population in several of the constituencies spread across Lower and Central Assam.

The BJP pledged to resolve the infiltration issue by completely sealing off the Indo-Bangla border while the Congress' contention was that there were no Bangladeshis in Assam and it was the Tarun Gogoi-led government that took initiative to update the National Register of Citizens (NRC) to resolve the issue.

BJP's campaign was also marked by an appeal to the electorate to vote for 'parivartan' (change) to bring development while the Congress highlighted its achievements like restoring peace during the last 15 years of its rule.

The two sides also traded charges on issue of corruption and nepotism with Modi accusing Gogoi of favouring his family while the Chief Minister attacked the Prime Minister over Panama papers.

For the Congress, it was party President Sonia Gandhi, Vice-President Rahul Gandhi, state unit president Anjan Dutta along with former UPA ministers Ghulam Nabi Azad, Jairam Ramesh, Salman Khurshid, Sachin Pilot among others who campaigned for its candidates.

The Congress chief targeted BJP over its alleged "communal" politics and accused Modi of "spreading hate".

1,04,35,271 people, including 53,91,204 males, 50,44,051 females and 22 others, are eligible to exercise their franchise in the phase to decide the fate of 525 candidates-- 477 males and 48 females.

Among the prominent candidates in fray are cabinet ministers Rakibul Hussain, Chandan Sarkar and Nazrul Islam for the Congress, former two-time AGP Chief Minister Prafulla Mahanta, AIUDF Chief and Dhubri MP Badruddin Ajmal and former Congress minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, who revolted against the Chief Minister and joined BJP last year.

Congress is contesting in 57 seats, the AIUDF, the major opposition party in the outgoing assembly, in 47, the BJP in 35 while its allies--the Bodo Peoples' Front (BPF) in 10 and the Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) in 19. The CPM is contesting in nine and the CPI in five.

In West Bengal, altogether 163 candidates, including 21 women, have been wooing about 70 lakh voters, including 33.6 lakh women and 50 of the third gender.

For TMC, party supremo Mamata Banerjee, who is the face of the party, has been campaigning extensively daily.

Besides the Saradha chitfund scam, opposition parties have been targeting the TMC government on the recent Narada sting operation where party leaders were purportedly seen accepting bribe.