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Rediff.com  » News » Gogoi in fray as stage set for Assam first phase polls

Gogoi in fray as stage set for Assam first phase polls

April 03, 2011 19:23 IST
Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi, Speaker Tanka Bahadur Rai, Deputy Speaker Pranati Phukon and a host of Cabinet ministers and Congress veterans are among the total 485 candidates whose fate will be decided on Monday in the first phase of the Assembly elections in Assam to be held in 62 Local Authorities Constituencies spread over 13 districts.

Notable candidates from the opposition political parties who are facing polls on Monday include former president of Asom Gana Parishad Brindabon Goswami and Bharatiya Janata Party state president Ranjit Dutta.

Out of these 62 LACs going to polls on Monday, 38 are now under the grip of the Congress, nine with the BJP, seven with the AGP, three with the All India United Democratic Front. Fifteen LACs fall under the minority- dominated Barak Valley districts of Cachar, Karimganj and Hailakandi while over 25 are located in Upper Assam's tea belt.

For the first phase, the Congress and the BJP will field 62 candidates each while 51 from the AGP, 44 from the Trinamool Congress and 29 from the AIUDF are in the fray. 

Gogoi is seeking re-election from the Titabor constituency in Jorhat district while Dutta is fighting to retain his seat from the Behali constituency in Sonitpur district. AGP stalwart Brindabon Goswami is facing a stiff challenge from Congress rival Bijit Saikia in the Tezpur LAC. Out of the total 485 candidates in the fray for the first phase election, 447 are males and only 38 are females.

According to an Election Commission source, the first phase polling will be held in 11,264 polling booths where 85,09,010 voters are expected to exercise their franchise. Around 2,093 polling booths have been identified as hypersensitive and 2,985 sensitive for the first phase election while 817 villages have been declared vulnerable to militant threat.

Meanwhile, elaborate security arrangement has been made especially in Upper Assam districts and the two hill districts in view of the threat from militant groups including the anti-talks faction of the ULFA, which had threatened to target Congressmen during the polls. An EC source informed that over 350 companies of central paramilitary forces have been deployed at various polling centers and they will be assisted by 96 companies of the Assam police personnel.

K Anurag in Guwahati