An indefinite bandh by a militant outfit in the Autonomous District (ST) along with last minute canvassing in two constituencies of Karimganj (SC) and Silchar in the Barak Valley marked the end of a high pitched campaigning on Thursday for 3 constituencies in the second phase of Lok Sabha polls in Assam on April 12.
The Karbi Peoples' Liberation Tigers militant outfit had called for an indefinite bandh since April 8 in the Karbi Anglong district under Autonomous District demanding immediate creation of a separate autonomous state.
Altogether 37 candidates are in the fray with 17 in Silchar, 15 in Karimganj(SC) and five in Autonomous District.
Prominent candidates included three time sitting BJP MP in Silchar Kabindra Purkayastha, two time sitting Congress MP in Karimganj Lalit Mohan Suklabaidya, four time Congress MP from Autonomous District Biren Singh Engti and Congress candidate from Silchar Sushmita Dev, also the MLA from Silchar and daughter of former Union Minister Santosh Mohan Dev.
Among other prominent candidates were BJP's Krishna Das in Karimganj and Joyram Engleng in Autonomous District, AIUDF's Radheshyam Biswas in Karimganj and Kutubuddin Ahmed Mazaumder in Silchar, AGP's Rabindranath Choudhury in Karimganj and Bijoy Krishna Nath in Silchar and Samajwadi Party's Rinku Malakar in Karimganj and Rashid Ahmed Laskar in Silchar.
A total electorate of 29,26,762, including 14,00,594 women are expected to exercise their franchise in 3,698 polling booths in the three constituencies.
Security was tightened with helicopter surveillance from Thursday to monitor movement of militants while patrolling has been intensified.
Altogether 49 companies of security forces have been deployed in the three constituencies with 20 in Silchar, 17 in the Autonomous District and 12 companies in Karimganj.
National leaders who campaigned in the three constituencies included BJP's prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi, its national president Rajnath Singh and Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi, besides Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi.
Prominent issues which had figured during campaigning were influx of illegal migrants from Bangladesh, bordering Karimganj and Silchar, development of the constituencies and problem of insurgency in the Autonomous District.
BJP promised to tackle the issue of influx from Bangladesh while treating Hindu migrants from the neighbouring country with sensitivity and settling them across the country.
Congress, on the other hand, focused on development issues with the chief minister highlighting the Rs 1,000 crore development package for Barak Valley sanctioned by his government, but remained non-committal on the issue of autonomy to the Autonomous District.
with inputs from PTI
Image: A woman gets her finger marked after voting at a polling station in Nakhrai village in Assam’s Tinsukia district.
Photograph: Rupak De Chowdhuri/Reuters