Assam Election Result 2021 LIVE Updates: CM Sonowal Thanks Modi for Victory, Himanta Wins in Jalukbari

Assam Election Result 2021 LIVE Updates: The BJP has spearheaded the NDA’s way well beyond the majority mark as the saffron party is leading in more than 74 Assembly seats against Congress-led alliance’s 42 out of a total of 126 seats in Assam. While state Finance and Health Minister and BJP’s star campaigner Himanta Biswa Sarma won from Jalukbari, Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal is leading from Majauli constituency. Incarcerated anti-CAA activist Akhil Gogoi is leading in Sibsagar seat, suggests initial trends of Assam assembly election results.

The BJP now needs five more seats to secure the majority mark, which is 64. The Election Commission began counting votes for the 126 assemblies in Assam elections amid a three-tier security arrangement and strict adherence to Covid-19 protocols. The vote-counting is underway across 331 halls.

The voting for the Assam Assembly elections, which was held in three phases — March 27, April 1, and April 6, was concluded on April 6 with an impressive turnout of 82.04%.

Himanata Biswa Sarma wins Jalukbari constituency. Sarma took to Twitter to announce his win and thanked the people of Jalukbari, PM Narendra Modi, Home Minister Amit Shah and party president JP Nadda

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman congratulates Assam CM Sarbananda Sonowal. 

In Assam, the BJP is in alliance with the regional parties of Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) and United People’s Party Liberal (UPPL), forming the ‘Mitrajot’. The Congress formed ‘Mahajot’ (Grand Alliance) with All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF), Bodoland People’s Front (BPF), Communist Party of India (Marxist) (CPI-M), Communist Party of India (Marxist–Leninist) Liberation (CPI (ML)L), Anchalik Gana Morcha (AGM) and Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD).

On Saturday, the Chief Election Commissioner (CEC), Sushil Chandra, reviewed the counting arrangements with senior EC officers and the CEOs of the four states and the UT at a virtual meeting on Saturday. He directed that all laid-down instructions of the EC must be adhered to. He also directed that the counting halls must be fully COVID guidelines compliant.

The commission has designated 822 returning officers and more than 7,000 assistant returning officers for the purpose of counting of votes in the four states. Nearly 95,000 counting officials, including micro-observers, will perform the task of counting. No candidates or their agents will be allowed inside the counting halls without a negative coronavirus report, according to the latest result-day guidelines issued by the EC.

Upper Assam is the biggest among all the three major regions in the state, with 56 Assembly seats. The electorate in 47 of these constituencies is voting on Saturday, March 27, in the first phase. The electoral outcome in this region is crucial in determining the fate of the next government in many ways.

First, this is the biggest region in Assam, accounting for nearly 44 per cent of the total Assembly seats in the state—whichever party has a decisive lead here would inch closer to forming the next government in the state. Second, this has been a stronghold of the ruling BJP since the last few elections, where the party (and its alliance partner/s) has not only increased its vote share but also widened the vote share gap with the main opposition party, the Congress (see chart below). Third, in pre-Covid Assam, this region saw a much intense protest, compared to rest of Assam, against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act or CAA. Many students and student unions had participated in protests; therefore, it would be interesting to see how people in this region vote.

 

Assam assembly elections 2021: Counting begins in shadow of Covid-19 crisis

Assam: Number of counting halls has been increased to 331, compared to 143 set up during 2016 assembly polls, to ensure social distancing and other Covid-19 related standard operating procedures.

Counting of votes for Assam’s 126 assembly seats, contested by 946 candidates, has begun amid a nationwide crisis triggered by the second wave of Covid-19. Most exit polls have predicted a victory for the ruling party, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) led alliance, in the state.

 

BJP fought the elections in alliance with Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) and United People’s Party Liberal (UPPL), while the Congress-led 10-party alliance includes All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF) and Bodoland Peoples’ Party (BPF).

Besides the two main fronts, another front comprising two new regional parties, Assam Jatiya Parishad and Raijor Dal, was also in the fray.

Chief electoral officer Nitin Khade said the number of counting halls has been increased to 331, compared to 143 set up during 2016 polls, to ensure social distancing and other Covid-19 related standard operating procedures. 279 of these centres will handle electronic voting machines (EVM) and 52 will count postal ballots.

“Strong security measures have been made to ensure smooth conduct of the Counting process. The linkage between [the] Strong Room and [the] Counting Hall will be maintained with strict security to avoid any untoward situation. There will be three tiers of security in respect of the counting venues,” Khade said in a statement.

Khade added that the counting process was expected to take longer this time due to additional measures including greater number of EVMs and postal ballots used to help contain the spread of Covid-19.

In 2016, there were a total of 29,173 postal votes for the entire state whereas, this time, the figure has increased by 414% to 150,033.

In 2016, BJP won 60 seats to form the party’s first government in Assam with the support of AGP (14) and the BPF (12). Congress won only 26 seats and the AIUDF won 13.

According to the India Today exit poll, BJP-led alliance was likely to win 75-85 seats and the front led by the Congress was likely to win 40-50 seats. News24-Chanakya predicted 70 seats to the front led by the BJP and 56 to the Congress-led alliance.

The Republic-CNX poll predicted 74-84 seats for the BJP and 40-50 for the Congress, while the Times Now poll gave 72 seats to the BJP and 53 to the Congress.

The ABP-CVoter poll predicted a close contest with 58-71 seats to the BJP-led alliance and 53-66 to the Congress-led front.

The BJP maintains that it will win at least 85 seats, based on its own survey. The Congress has dismissed the exit polls as “biased” and “manipulated”, adding the party will form the next government in the state.

In a statement issued late on Saturday evening, the Congress said it won’t send spokespersons to TV studios for debates related to election results due to the current Covid-19 crisis. However, the party said its spokespersons will be available to answer queries over phone.

Assembly Election 2021 | Assam BJP 'declares' NDA victory in 83 seats ahead of the May 2 verdict

Guwahati: The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Assam seems upbeat about its electoral prospects ahead of Sunday’s assembly poll verdict. So much so that the state unit president Ranjeet Dass addressed a press conference in Guwahati on Friday announcing that the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) would win in 83 seats in the 126-member state assembly.

Claiming that the saffron party would win in 70 seats while its allies Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) and the Bodo-dominated United People's Party Liberal (UPPL) would secure eight and five seats, respectively, Dass has already unofficially conceded BJP’s defeat in 21 constituencies terming them as “doubtful”.

Of these 21 constituencies, the NDA has its sitting MLAs in constituencies such as Sonai, Bilasipara East, Mangaldai, Raha, Batadrawa, Teok, Amguri and Thaora.

Meanwhile, the Congress-led grand alliance has refused to accept the results of the exit poll, which has given an edge to the BJP-led alliance this time. Assam Congress chief Ripun Bora has reiterated that the grand alliance will form a government this time and the results of the exit poll will be rejected on May 2.

Journalist-turned-Rajya Sabha MP Ajit Kumar Bhuyan has also claimed that misleading information was circulated in the name of the exit poll.

According to analysts, the 2021 assembly election is one of the closely watched ones given that it has seen entry of two new youth-led political parties, borne out the anti-CAA agitations.

(CAA or Citizen Amendment Act was passed on December 12, 2019, and spoke to Indian citizenship for people who had entered the country before 2015.)

Jailed activist Akhil Gogoi and former student leader Lurinjyoti Gogoi (Assam Jatiya Parishad) are contesting from upper Assam, the epicenter of the anti-CAA protests in Assam.

This year’s election is also marked by the absence of two former chief ministers – Congress stalwart and three-time chief minister Tarun Gogoi and the leader of the historic Assam movement of the 1980s, Prafulla Kumar Mahanta.

Gogoi who was credited with making Assam a Congress citadel and bringing peace in the insurgency-hit state passed away last year at the age of 84.

Two-time CM Mahanta, who has not lost any assembly election since 1985, did not contest this time due to “health-related issues”.

Here are, some of the constituencies to watch out for:

Patacharkuchi and Sarbhog

Assam BJP president Ranjeet Kumar Dass is in the fray against sitting MLA Pabindra Deka, who is contesting from the newly formed Assam Jatiya Parishad (AJP) this time. Patacharkuchi is one of the keenly watched seats.

Ranjeet Kumar Dass.Assam BJP President Ranjeet Kumar Dass faces tough competition in Patacharkuchi from Assam Jatiya Parishad President Pabindra Deka and Congress candidate Santanu Sarma.

Dass has moved to Patacharkuchi from his earlier Sarbhog seat, one of the two constituencies where the Left has fielded its candidate. CPI(M) Politburo leader Sitaram Yechury last month said the Left has a high chance of winning this seat.

Dass, a two-time MLA from Sarbhog assembly seat in Barpeta district, is likely to face tough competition from AJP working president Pabindra Deka and Congress candidate Santanu Sarma.

In 2016, Deka had won from Patacharkuchi constituency as AGP candidate by a margin of over 50,000 votes against Congress candidate Sailen Kalita. In 2011, Manoranjan Das of BJP had won from the constituency.

With over 1.5 lakh voters, the constituency has over 30,000 Scheduled Tribe; 25,000 Scheduled Caste population; 16,000 plus Other Backward Classes (OBCs)/Minorities and OBCs; 21,000 Muslims and almost 55,000 general (non-Muslim) votes. The 20,000 Koch-Rajbongshi voters will also play a key role in this constituency.

Once a safe seat for the Left parties, Sarbhog is likely to witness direct contest between Manoranjan Talukdar (CPI-M) and Sankar Chandra Das (BJP) this time.

In 2016, BJP candidate Ranjeet Kumar Dass won the seat by defeating Anurupa Hannan (INC) with a margin of 19,526 votes.

With over 1.95 lakh votes, this constituency has over 37,000 ST votes. Ethnic Bodo voters - over 25,000 of them - will definitely play a crucial role this time.

Assam CM Sarbananda Sonowal                                                                                                       Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal contested against old rival Rajib Lochan Pegu (Congress) from Majuli.

Majuli

Chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal’s constituency Majuli will witness a direct contest between him and Congress candidate Rajib Lochan Pegu. In the year 2016, Sonowal defeated Pegu by over 50.74% vote share.

In 2011, Pegu won from this this constituency defeating Padmeswar Doley, an Independent candidate, by a margin of 15,964 votes.

With over 1.2 lakh voters, Majuli has nearly 45,000 population from the ethnic Miri/Mising community.

Jailed peasant activist Akhil Gogoi had to contest as an independent, after his newly formed political party was unable to register with the Election Commission.                                                                                              Peasant rights activist Akhil Gogoi had to contest as an independent candidate, after his newly formed political party - Raijor Dal - was unable to register with the Election Commission.

Sivasagar

Jailed peasant rights activist Akhil Gogoi is contesting from this constituency as an independent candidate since his newly-floated Raijor Dal failed to register with the Election Commission due to technical reasons. Apart from Gogoi, the other leading candidates in the fray are Surabhi Rajkonwar of the BJP and Subhramitra Gogoi of Congress.

In 2016, Pranab Kumar Gogoi of Congress won the seat, defeating Surabhi Rajkonwar of BJP. In 2011, Pranab Gogoi retained the seat defeating Pranabjit Chaliha of AGP by a margin of 17,250 votes.

Sivasagar represents over 1.4 lakh votes, including 80,000-plus votes of the ethnic Ahom which will be crucial this time. The constituency also has over 30,000 indigenous Assamese Muslim votes.

The All Assam Students' Union (AASU) Chief Adviser Samujjal Bhattacharya, President Dipanka Kumar Nath and General Secretary Lurinjyoti Gogoi watch live analysis of final National Register of Citizens (NRC) list declared on August 31, in Guwahati. (Image: PTI)                                                                                                      File photo of an All Assam Students' Union (AASU) meeting in Guwahati. Former AASU general secretary Lurinjyoti Gogoi (standing, in blue shirt) formed the Assam Jatiya Parishad in 2020. He contested from Duliajan and Naharkotia in this election (Image: PTI).

Duliajan and Naharkotia

Former general secretary of the All Assam Students’ Union (AASU), Lurinjyoti Gogoi, who formed Assam Jatiya Parishad (AJP) ahead of the election, has contested from two constituencies — Duliajan and Naharkotia.

People of Assam will definitely keep a close eye on both the constituencies as the fate of Lurinjyoti Gogoi will create a new wave of regionalism in the state.

In Duliajan, the key candidates this time are Terash Gowalla of BJP, Dhruba Gogoi of Congress and Lurinjyoti Gogoi of AJP.

In 2016, Gowalla won this seat, beating Dhruba Jyoti Gogoi of Congress by a margin of 17,086 votes.

In 2011, Amiya Gogoi of Congress won the seat by defeating Rameswar Teli of BJP by a margin of 3,336 votes.

In Nahorkotia, the prominent candidates this time are Taranga Gogoi of BJP, Pranatee Phukan of Congress and Lurinjyoti Gogoi of AJP.

In 2016, Naren Sonowal (Botali) of AGP won the seat defeating Pranatee Phukan of Congress by a margin of 3,531 votes.

In 2011, the seat was won by Pranati Phukan of Congress defeating Naren Sonowal of AGP by a margin of 14,397 votes.

Source. moneycontrol

In Assam, BJP looks to create history by becoming the only non-Congress government to win consecutive terms

Most exit polls show BJP winning somewhere between 60-80 seats as compared to the 86 it won during the 2016 Assembly elections.

 

Although exit polls point towards a return of the Sarbananda Sonowal-led government, all is not great for the saffron party this time. Most exit polls show BJP winning somewhere between 60-80 seats as compared to the 86 it won during the 2016 Assembly elections. Senior leaders of the party, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi, party president JP Nadda and Union Home Minister Amit Shah, had repeatedly spoken about going past the 100-mark which, as per the exit polls, looks like a distant dream.

 

The India Today-Axis My India exit poll has predicted wins in 75-85 seats for the NDA. The Congress’s grand-alliance is likely to win 40-50 seats, it says.

The Manorama News-VMR exit poll has also predicted the same numbers of seats for the ruling and opposition alliances.

 

The P-MARQ exit poll says the grand alliance might win 56-64 seats. The BJP is likely to get 62-70 seats, it says.

The Republic TV-CNX exit poll also predicts an easy win for the BJP. According to the poll, the BJP and its allies are winning 74-84 seats, whereas the Congress-led alliance will win 40-50 seats.

The majority mark in Assam is 64.

 

The ABP News-C Voter poll predicts a neck-and-neck contest. It says the NDA win will 58-71 seats; the Congress-led alliance is likely to win 53-66 seats.

News 24-Today’s Chanakya exit poll says the BJP-led alliance is likely to win 70 seats. The grand-alliance might win 56 seats, it says.

One of the BJP’s trump cards this Assembly polls was its steady consolidation of its Hindu vote base. Over the years, the BJP has sought to politicise the issue of influx in Assam, often accusing the previous Congress governments of harbouring illegal Muslim immigrants in exchange for political support. It is this narrative that helped them come to power in 2016 and this time as well, the party followed a similar course, denouncing the Congress-led alliance as an “Alliance of Mughals” that is opposed to Assam’s indigenous interests.

Senior BJP leader and Assam cabinet minister Himanta Biswa Sarma had launched a blitzkrieg against the alliance for including AIUDF into its fold. Sarma said the Congress’s alliance with the AIUDF turned these polls into a “conflict of civilisations” alleging that the AIUDF was a communal party, referring to the party’s predominantly Bengali Muslim base.

 

This campaign helped the party put contentious issues like the Citizenship Amendment Act and the National Register of Citizens into the backburner.

Going by the exit polls, it seems parties like the AJP and Raijor Dal, whose foundation was based upon the anti-CAA protests of 2019, have failed to rake up these issues and convert them into votes.

According to the break-up of vote percentages as put out by the exit polls, rural voters and those belonging to lower income groups — who form the bulk of the electorate — appear to have a favourable opinion about the Sarbananda Sonowal government.

 

Despite impressive socio-economic promises such as job creation for youths, income support for housewives and land rights for indigenous people by the Congress and AJP to attract voters, what ultimately seems to have swayed voters towards the BJP was an array of beneficiary schemes launched by the government — most popular among them being the ‘Orunodoi’ scheme through which the state extends financial aid to women.

 

Besides these, major ethnic communities such as Karbis, Dimasas, Misings, Rabhas and Tiwas are seen standing beside the BJP again.

The only big loss, however, comes in the form of the Bodoland People’s Front joining the Grand Alliance which might help them make some gains in the Bodoland Territorial Region. The Barak Valley, which is predominantly inhabited by Bengalis, is another region where the Congress looks to win a few seats. With the help of AIUDF, the Grand Old Party is looking to sweep minority-dominated constituencies, but might plateau short of the majority mark owing to heavy losses it is expected to concede in almost all other regions.

 

The Congress, ahead of the polls, was also fighting to fill up the void that former Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi’s death left. Moreover, it hoped to woo tea tribes with its Rs 365 daily wage and ST status promises, but going by the exit polls, the gardens seem to remain on the saffron party’s side, just like it did during the 2019 Lok Sabha polls.

Assam voted in three phases on March 27, April 1 and April 6 and according to the Election Commission, the polling turnouts were 79.93%, 80.96% and 82.33% respectively.

The ruling party has contested 92 seats in alliance with the Asom Gana Parishad, which has contested 26 seats.

In the opposition Grand Alliance, the Congress has contested 94 seats, whereas Badruddin Ajmal’s AIUDF has contested 14.

Congress led alliance urges EC to maintain transparency

The Congress led ‘Mahajot’ combining AIUDF, BPF CPI(M), CPI(ML) Liberation, Anchalik Gana Morcha, Adivasi National Party, RJD and Jimachayan Peoples Party submitted a memorandum today to Election Commission urging it to maintain transparency and fair counting of votes on May 2. It has to be noted that Election Commission has been immensely criticised during the second phase of voting when EVMS were found in a car of a ruling party, BJP’s candidate Krishnendu Paul after which the Election Commission has suspended three polling officials and ordered for a re-poll on 20th April 2021.

In the memorandum they requested the EC to direct all the returning officers to maintain table-wise details of the officials engaged in the counting of votes to all the contesting candidates. They also demanded to ensure proper video recording of the counting tables and the whole process. They urged the EC to allow the agent of contesting candidates to be present in the strong room when it would be opened and till the counting process is over.

The parties strongly demanded that the returning officers be directed to furnish details to all candidates about the number of postal ballots issued, those received so far and the number of absentee voters. The alliance also demanded that directions be issued to count all the postal ballots, ballots collected from homes of absentee voters and election duty certificates before the counting of EVMs is taken up. They urged the EC to direct all the returning officers not to begin the next round of counting till a round is completed and recorded.
A copy of memorandum was submitted to Nitin Khade, Assam Chief Electoral Officer in presence of all the party leaders.

82.33 per cent voting recorded in final phase in Assam

Guwahati, Apr 6 An estimated 82.33 per cent of 79.2

lakh electors voted in the third and last phase of Assam Assembly election in 40 constituencies on Tuesday that largely remained peaceful except for sporadic incidents of violence and disturbances reported from some areas.

The percentage of polling, which took place from 7 am to 6 pm,may increase a bit with the arrival of more information, Joint Chief Electoral Officer Rahul Chandra Das said.

"As per the information available, the poll percentage has been estimated at 82.33 per cent," he added.

Polling percentage in the third round is more than the previous two which saw 79.93 and 80.96 per cent voting respectively.

The South Salmara district witnessed highest polling at 89.49 per cent, followed by Dhubri with 89.20 per cent and Bilasipara (87.07 per cent), official data showed.

Lower polling took place at Kamrup Metropolitan, which comprises the Guwahati city, at 74.42 per cent, followed by Bajali with 77.51 per cent and Baksa (78.22 per cent).

Altogether 337 candidates, including 25 women, are contesting in 40 constituencies in the third phase.

Their fate was sealed by 79,19,641 electors, including 40,11,539 males, 39,07,963 females and 139 transgenders, in 11,401 polling stations.

In the three-phased Assam Assembly polls for 126 constituencies, the state witnessed 79.93 per cent polling on 47 seats during the first phase on March 27 and 80.96 per cent on 39 seats during the second phase on April 1.

During the day, a clash between two groups of public broke out "over some issues", forcing the police to resort to mild lathicharge and firing in the air with no one injured, an official said.

The incident took place at the polling station set up at Dighaltari LP School under Golakganj constituency and the situation is under control with voting continuing normally after a brief halt, the official said.

At the Gutipara booth under the Bilasipara West seat, a group of people attacked security personnel over distribution of free masks and pelted stones at the polling station, leading to lathicharge by the police to control the situation.

Voting was interrupted there for about half-an-hour after which it continued as usual, officials said.

At a polling booth under Bongaigaon constituency, police resorted to lathicharge when a huge crowd had arrived.

Another polling station under the same constituency witnessed "some commotion" when the presiding officer went to help a differently abled person in casting his vote.

However, the situation was brought under control immediately after police intervened, an election official said.

Police detained at least two persons from the polling booth at Kamrup Academy Higher Secondary School in Guwahati for allegedly distributing BJP pamphlets carrying minister Siddhartha Bhattacharya's pictures inside the centre.

A total of around 10 persons have been detained from different parts of the constituencies witnessing voting on Tuesday, officials said.

EVM malfunctioning was reported from several polling centres but after the machines were replaced, voting resumed there, an Election official said without sharing the number of units replaced.

A direct contest between nominees of the BJP-led NDA and Congress-headed Grand Alliance is on the cards in 20 constituencies, while there is a triangular fight, including friendly contests, in the remaining seats with the Assam Jatiya Parishad (AJP) being considered as the third force.

The newly-floated AJP is contesting on 22 seats, while there are 126 independents in the fray in the final phase of polls,in which BJP-led alliance is fighting on 37 seats.

The Grand Alliance has put up 45 candidates, including friendly contests between Congress and AIUDF on five seats.

The fate of 20 sitting MLAs -- eight from the Congress, five from the BJP, three each from the AIUDF and the BPF, and one from the AGP -- will be decided in this round.

BJP ministers Himanta Biswa Sarma,Chandra Mohan Patowary, Siddhartha Bhattacharya and Phani Bhusan Choudhury were in the fray in this phase.

The electoral future of BPF ministers Chandan Brahma and Pramila Rani Brahma along with BJP state chief Ranjeet Kumar Dass were also sealed Tuesday.

Voters wearing masks were seen queuing up outside polling booths with some maintaining distance by standing in marked circles across the 12 districts in lower Assam.

However,most of the voters in rural areas were not observing any COVID-19 protocol and were seen huddling in groups.

The voters who did not have masks were provided with one, besides a disposable plastic gloves before they were allowed to enter the polling booths.

The first voters at the polling centres were greeted with saplings and the senior citizens with 'gamochas' (traditional Assamese scarf).

For the convenience of the senior citizens and physically challenged voters, arrangements for wheelchairs and e- rickshaws were made at many of the booths.

The model polling stations have a children's play zone, seating lounge, selfie zone and muppets. Many of the booths also had seating areas, in rainbow shades, themed on inclusivity and LGBTQ rights.

Many polling centres were decorated with recyclable items, having art installations made with bottles and plastic wrappers among others.

Ethnic fabric and handicraft items were on display in many polling centres, besides mannequins wearing tribal attires put up at the selfie zones.

Assamese festival of Bihu, which is just 10 days away, was also a popular theme in several polling booths.

Polling today for third and final phase in Assam Assembly polls

The polling will be held from 7 am to 6 pm. The time for casting votes has been increased by an hour to ensure COVID-19 protocols are followed.

 

The polling for the third and final phase of the Assam Assembly elections 2021 began at 7 am on Tuesday. It will continue till 6 pm.

The time for casting votes has been increased by an hour to ensure COVID-19 protocols are followed in the constituencies.

The counting of votes will take place on May 2.

 

Assam elections 2021 third phase live updates | Polling begins for 40 seats

Polling for 40 seats in the final phase of the assembly elections in Assam began at 7 a.m. on Tuesday to decide the fate of 337 candidates, including senior minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, his five cabinet colleagues and state BJP president Ranjeet Kumar Dass.

A direct contest between nominees of the BJP-led NDA and Congress-headed Grand Alliance is on the cards in 20 constituencies while there is a triangular fight, including friendly contests, in the remaining seats with the Assam Jatiya Parishad (AJP) being considered as the third force.

The newly floated AJP is contesting in 22 seats while there are 126 independents in the fray in the final phase of the election in which the BJP-led coalition is seeking to return to power for the second term in a row.

 

Polling begins for 40 sets in final phase of Assam elections

Polling for 40 seats in the final phase of the assembly elections in Assam began at 7 a.m. on Tuesday to decide the fate of 337 candidates, including senior minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, his five cabinet colleagues and state BJP president Ranjeet Kumar Dass.

People wearing masks and maintaining social distance were seen queuing outside polling stations even before the voting began in the 40 constituencies spread over 12 districts.

 

In several polling stations, the first voter and senior citizens were greeted with a 'gamosa' (traditional towel) and, in some cases, with saplings.

 

Input: thehindu

Assam Cong demands suspension of poll in Tamulpur seat after BPF candidate joins BJP

Guwahati, Apr 4 The Congress has demanded

suspension of election in Tamulpur constituency in the third phase of the Assam assembly elections on April 6 as its ally Bodoland People's Front (BPF) candidate from the seat Rangja Khungur Basumatary joined the BJP in the middle of the ongoing polls.

The Election Commission heard the matter on Saturday in the presence of returning officer for the constituency Sanjiv Sarma, but no decision has been announced so far, sources in the poll panel told PTI.

The BPF had lodged a complaint with the EC after its candidate from the Tamulpur assembly segment in Baksa district of the Bodoland Territorial Region had joined the BJP on April 1.

In a complaint submitted to the chief electoral officer here on Saturday night, Assam Congress chief Ripun Bora urged him to take appropriate action against Basumatary.

He also requested the poll panel to take stringent action against Assam minister and senior BJP leader Himanta Biswa Sarma who held a meeting with the BPF candidate before he switched over to the saffron party.

"It is evident that there has been a gross violation of the Election Commission of India's model code of conduct as well as several provisions of the Representation of the People Act, 1951.

"Under such circumstances, I request your honour to take prompt and necessary action against Basumatary and Himanta Biswa Sarma. I further request you to stop the election process in Tamulpur constituency immediately," Bora said.

Following the development, which was not seen before as per the officials, the opposition parties accused the BJP of indulging in the pre-poll "horse-trading".

Basumatary had reportedly gone missing for two days and at around midnight on March 31, he met Sarma.

The senior BJP leader had written on Twitter that he met Basumatary who would join the saffron party.

Basumatary told a local TV channel that he had decided to quit the BPF as the party did not lend any helping hand to him to fund his campaign.

The BPF candidate had said he couldn't withdraw himself from the contest now due to some technical issues, but he would be supporting BJP's ally United People's Party Liberal (UPPL) nominee Leho Ram Boro in the seat.

The first phase of the Assam assembly elections was held on March 27, and the second phase on April 1.

Magisterial probe ordered into Assam EVM row

Karimganj/Hailakandi (Assam), Apr 3 

A magisterial probe has been ordered to determine why a polling team in Assam carried an EVM in a vehicle owned by the wife of a BJP candidate, officials said on Saturday.

Karimganj District Deputy Superintendent Anbamuthan MP issued an order on Friday night to probe the incident, which has snowballed into a huge controversy amid the ongoing Assam assembly elections, the last phase of which is slated for Tuesday.

Additional District Magistrate Rajeshan Terang has been asked to conduct the enquiry and submit a detailed report within three days.

"... This incident posed a threat to security of the polled EVMs and has an adverse effect on the law and order situation," the order said.

The probe will also find out the circumstances leading to the poll party travelling in a private vehicle, and ascertain whether there was any lapse or conspiracy on the part of the authorities.

Violence had broken out on the outskirts of Karimganj town on Thursday night after a crowd spotted a BJP candidate's vehicle being used to transport a polled EVM to the strong room, prompting the police to fire in the air to bring the situation under control.

The poll team from Ratabari constituency claimed that its official vehicle broke down midway, forcing them to ask for a lift from a passing vehicle, which turned out to be that of the wife of BJP's Patharkandi candidate.

Sitting MLA Krishnendu Paul is the BJP candidate from the Patharkandi seat, while Ratabari is currently represented by his party MLA Bijoy Malakar, who is contesting the election as well.

Ratabari and Patharkandi constituencies went to the polls in the second phase on Thursday.

The Election Commission has suspended four election officials and ordered repolling at the booth.

Union Home Minister Amit Shah has also sought an inquiry by the commission.

Meanwhile, police arrested at least six persons for allegedly live streaming the violence that had erupted after the incident, and inciting the mob to attack the private vehicle in which the poll party was travelling with three units of the EVM from 149 Indira MV School in Ratabari.

"We are identifying the people who were seen attacking the vehicle in the videos... more arrests are likely," a senior police official said.

Opposition Congress and the AIUDF have slammed the authorities for the incident, and alleged that the EVM was being "stolen".

Demanding an explanation and immediate action, Assam Congress chief Ripun Bora said the party will consider boycotting the election if "this open loot and rigging of EVMs" does not stop immediately.