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|October 6, 1999||
It may swing either way in Assam
The Bharatiya Janata Party and the Congress are neck and neck in Assam.
The Congress is ahead in Silchar, Barpeta, Jorhat, Koliabor and Dibrugarh. In Barpetta, it has an unassailable lead of over 50,000 votes.
The BJP, for its part, is making surprise inroads in the Brahmaputra valley. It is ahead in Nagaon, Guwahati, Mangaldoi, Tezpur and Karimganj, while the independent backed by it, Sansuma Khungur Bwismutiary, maintains a steady lead in the Kokrajhar constituency.
From the initial trend, it looks like the Muslim votes went en bloc to the Congress despite the presence of radical minority parties like the United Minority Front.
The election also saw the second successive debacle for the Asom Gana Parishad. The party is holding on to a very narrow lead in Lakhimpur where its Sarbananda Sonowal is being threatened by Congressman Ranee Narah and the BJP's Uda Shankar Hazarika.
In Tezpur, a keen contest is on with the AGP's Dr Kosheshwar Bora and the BJP's R P Sharma giving a tough fight to controversial Congress candidate Mani Kumar Subba. As of now, the BJP leads by 6,000 votes.
The counting is progressing at a very slow pace. Most of the results are expected only by Thursday morning.
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