Assam Election 2021 LIVE Updates: Sarbananda Sonowal’s fate will be decided in this phase from Majuli (ST) constituency where he is locked in a direct contest with three-time former Congress MLA and former minister Rajib Lochan Pegu
Assam Election 2021 LATEST Updates: Assam is all set for the first phase of elections on Saturday. The state is likely to see a triangular contest between the ruling BJP-Asom Gana Parishad alliance, the Congress-led Grand Alliance and the newly formed Assam Jatiya Parishad in the first of the three-phased Assembly elections.
The ruling BJP is contesting in 39 seats while its alliance partner the AGP in ten seats, with the two parties, engaged in a friendly contest in Lakhimpur and Naharkatiya constituencies.
The Congress-led ‘Grand Alliance’ is contesting in all the seats, with the Congress putting up candidates in 43 constituencies and the AIUDF, CPI(ML-L), RJD and Anchalik Gana Morcha (contesting as an independent) in one seat each. The newly formed AJP is contesting in 41 seats while there are 78 independents which include 19 independents of anti-CAA activist Akhil Gogoi’s Raijor Dal.
Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal’s fate will be decided in this phase from Majuli (ST) constituency where he is locked in a direct contest with three-time former Congress MLA and former minister Rajib Lochan Pegu.
Speaker of the outgoing assembly Hitendranath Goswami is also locked in a direct contest with former Congress MLA Rana Goswami. Another prominent constituency is Titabor, held by former Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi for four consecutive terms, but with his death, it remains to be seen whether the
relatively little known candidate Bhaskar Jyoti Baruah can retain the seat for the party or the former AGP MLA Hemanta Kalita will wrest it in a direct contest.
BJP Ministers Ranjit Dutta (Behali), Naba Kumar Doley (Dhakuakha), Jogen Mohan (Mahmora), Terash Gowala (Duliajan) and Sanjoy Kishan (Tinsukia) are all locked in a triangular contest with Congress or its alliance partners and the AJP.
AGP Ministers Atul Bora from Bokakhat and Keshab Mahanta from Kaliabor are also engaged in triangular contests. Congress Legislature Party leader Debabrata Saikia (Nazira) and the Assam Pradesh Congress Committee president Ripun Borah (Gohpur) are engaged in direct contests with their BJP opponents Mayur Borgohain and Utpal Borah, respectively.
Jailed anti-CAA activist and Raijor Dal founder Akhil Gogoi is contesting from Sivasagar as an independent and is engaged in a triangular contest with BJP’s Surabhi Rajkonwar and Congress’s Subhramitra Gogoi. AJP President Lurinjyoti Gogoi is contesting from Duliajan and Naharkatiya and is pitted against Congress and BJP in both the constituencies.
In Batadroba and Teok constituencies, there is a direct contest between two women contestants in each with sitting BJP MLA Angoorlata Deka contesting against Congress’ Sibamoni Bora in the former and sitting AGP MLA and former deputy speaker Renupama Rajkhowa contesting against Pallabi Gogoi of Congress.
Poll date and timing
In the fray for the 47 constituencies going to polls on Saturday, are some 264 candidates, including 23 women, amid strict security and COVID protocols. The stage is all set for the polls, beginning at 7 am and ending at 6 pm, with the timing extended by an hour to ensure that COVID protocols are maintained. Central security forces have been deployed for the first phase to prevent any untoward law and order situations.
The 47 constituencies are spread across 12 districts of Upper Assam and the Northern Bank of the Brahmaputra.
An electorate of 81,09,815, including 40,77,210 male, 40,32,481 female, 124 of the third gender and nine overseas voters, will exercise their franchise in 11,537 polling stations, which include 1,917 Auxiliary polling stations, created to maintain COVID protocols and spread over 6,433 locations.
There are 479 polling stations manned by women officials exclusively. Special measures have been taken for People with Disabilities (PwD) including wheelchairs in every polling station and e-rickshaws for facilitating such voters.
In the first phase, webcasting will be arranged in 5,772 polling stations, identified as vulnerable, critical and sensitive polling stations, along with those having a large number of voters. In the first phase, Jonai (ST) constituency has the highest number of 3,11,660 voters while Thowra has the lowest number of voters at 1,15,364.
COVID-19 guidelines in effect for polling day
All voters have been urged to wear masks or they will be provided with one at the polling station, while COVID mitigation facilities like sanitisers, thermal scanners, soap and handwashing facilities will be a part of Assured Minimum Facilities in each polling stations across the state, Assam’s Chief Electoral Officer Nitin Khade said.
A distance of six feet between each voter while waiting to cast their vote must be maintained while each voter will be provided with plastic gloves for touching the EVMs, he said. Arrangements have also been made for the disposal of COVID waste.
With inputs from PTI
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