Campaigning in 65 assembly constituencies in Upper Assam, the north bank of Brahmaputra river and Barak Valley where polling will be held in the first phase on Monday, came to an end on Saturday.
A total of 539 candidates, including 280 Independents, are in the fray including three-time Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi (Congress) and BJP’s chief ministerial candidate Sarbananda Sonowal.
The ruling Congress is contesting in alliance with the United Peoples’ Party (UPP), which has its presence in the Bodoland Territorial Areas Districts (BTAD). The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), on the other hand has tied up with the regional Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) and Bodoland Peoples’ Front (BPF), the ruling party in Bodoland Territorial Council (BTC) that governs the four districts of BTAD.
The All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF) led by perfume baron Badruddin Ajmal is going to the polls alone, but has however, stated that they are going to contest only 60 seats of the total 126 and leave the rest for the benefit of the Congress “to keep the communal BJP from out of power”.
While the Congress has put up candidates in all the 65 constituencies, the BJP has put up candidates in 54 followed by AIUDF 27 candidates, the AGP with 11, BPF three, the Nationalist Congress Party nine, Bharat Vikash Morcha six, Lok Janshakti Party three, Liberal Democratic Party five seats, the Communist Party of India-Marxist 10, Jai Maha Bharat Party in one and others (including some unregistered parties) in 65 seats.
While the Congress has brought in star campaigners like party president Sonia Gandhi and vice president Rahul Gandhi, former ministers Jairam Ramesh, Anand Sharma, Ghulam Nabi Azad, Salman Khurshid and many others, the BJP has also brought in Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Home Minister Rajnath Singh, BJP president Amit Shah, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, HRD Minister Smriti Irani and others.
Gogoi is contesting from Titabar and Sonowal from Majuli. Others prominent faces in the first phase includes PWD Minister Ajanta Neog, Agriculture Minister Rockybul Hussain, Culture Minister Bismita Gogoi, former union minister Paban Singh Ghatowar (Cong), former two time chief minister Prafulla Kumar Mahanta (AGP), former education minister Brindaban Goswami (AGP), and AGP president Atul Bora.