95 lakh voters to decide fate of 539 candidates in first phase Assam polls

The stage is set for first phase polling for Assam Assembly election tomorrow, when over 95 lakh voters will decide the fate of 539 candidates, including 43 females, in 65 constituencies spread across eastern, northern and southern parts of the state. Polling will be conducted in 12,190 polling stations, with total electoral strength of 9511732 voters from 0700 hours to 1600 hours under tight security arrangements. ADGP SN Singh, who is the security nodal officer for state polls, said there would be fixed pickets at all polling stations, and central forces will be deployed to the extend possible. There would also be sectoral and zonal pickets, he added. Mr Singh said there was no specific threat in any of the poll bound constituency, adding that the runup to the polls has also been peaceful. Among the important candidates whose fates will be sealed in EVMs tomorrow are the two chief ministerial candidates in Assam polls, including incumbent Tarun Gogoi. While the Congress is seeking a fourth straight term in the state under Mr Gogoi, the BJP is leading an alliance of regional parties Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) and Bodoland People’s Front (BPF), under Union minister Sarbananda Sonowal as the chief ministerial candidate.Mr Gogoi will be seeking to retain Titabor constituency for a fourth term, while Mr Sonowal is contesting for the maiden time from Majuli, both in Jorhat district. AGP president Atul Bora’s Bokakhat constituency will also go to the polls in the first phase. While the contest in northern and eastern Assam would be mostly be confined between Congress and BJP-led alliance, in southern parts the fight would be a three-cornered between Congress, BJP and AIUDF. Among other heavyweight candidates in the first phase are former Union minister Paban Singh Ghatowar of Congress (Moran), state Cabinet minister Gautam Roy of Congress (Katlichera), former BJP state president Ranjit Dutta (Behali), former AGP president Brindabon Goswami (Tezpur), AICC general secretaries Bhupen Bora (Bihpuria) and Rana Goswami (Jorhat), state Cabinet minister Khorsingh Engti (Howraghat). As many as 280 Independents are contesting the first phase polls, while party-wise, ruling Congress has fielded candidates in all 65 constituencies, followed by BJP in 54 and All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF) in 27 seats.

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