First phase LS polling in Assam, Tripura today

First phase LS polling in Assam, Tripura today

First phase LS polling in Assam, Tripura today

 Nearly 77 lakh voters are expected to cast their votes to decide the fate of 64 candidates in Assam and Tripura as the polling to elect the nation’s 16th Lok Sabha is set to start from the two North-Eastern states on Monday.

The polling in the six constituencies in the two states will mark the beginning of the nine-phase election to the 543 Lok Sabha constituencies across the country.

One of the two parliamentary constituencies in Tripura and five of the 14 in Assam will go to polls on Monday. Altogether 51 candidates are in the fray for Kaliabor, Jorhat, Dibrugarh, Lakhimpur and Tezpur Lok Sabha seats in Assam, while 13 are trying their luck in West Tripura constituency in the neighbouring state.

The Congress, which has been in power in Assam since 2001, is facing challenges from the Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in all the six constituencies going to polls on Monday. Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi’s son Gourav Gogoi is contesting in the family pocket borough Kaliabor against Arun Sharma of the AGP and Mrinal Saikia of the BJP.

Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Development of North Eastern Region Pawan Singh Ghatowar is seeking reelection from Dibrugarh. The AGP pitted Anup Phukon against him, while the BJP candidate from the seat is Rameshwar Teli.

The BJP, which is keen to expand its footprint in Assam, has fielded its state unit president Sarbananda Sonowal in Lakhimpur against Union Minister of State for Tribal Affairs and Congress candidate Ranee Narah.

The Asom United Democratic Front, which has emerged as a new political force in Assam over the past decade, and the Aam Aadmi Party are contesting for Lakhimpur, Kaliabor and Jorhat.

The poll date for the first phase coincided with the “raising day” of the insurgent outfit United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA), which came into being on April 7, 1979. The rebel organisation suffered a split in the recent years and one of its factions has joined the peace process, while the other remained opposed to any such negotiation with the government.