The second phase of assembly elections concluded in Assam today with close to three quarters of all voters casting their votes. Nalbari district recorded the highest voter turnout in the state at 81.53 percent, while Hojai registered the lowest turnout at 66.33 percent.
The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) – Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) combine is contesting with a third ally, the newly formed United People’s Party Liberal (UPPL) that recently won the Bodoland Territorial Council (BTC) elections. Opposition parties are being led in a Mahajot by the Congress that has managed to stick together a grand alliance comprising the All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF), the Bodoland Peoples’ Front (BPF), the CPI(M), CPI, CPI(ML-L), Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) and the Anchalika Gana Morcha (AGM).
In the second phase 354 candidates, including 174 independent candidates and 26 women, threw their hat in the ring for 39 seats. But the election was not devoid of drama this time unlike the peaceful phase one.
The Congress alleged that the BJP had “disappeared” Congress-led Mahajot candidate from Tamulpur constituency, Rangja Basumatary of BPF, after he went missing yesterday. “It’s Assam government and BJP’s responsibility to answer where he is. We demand from the Election Commission that a probe should be done in this matter,” Congress leader Manish Tewari had told mediapersons in Guwahati when Basumatary remained incommunicado all day. But this “disappearance” appeared to be a calculated move as it was discovered that Basumatary had joined the BJP at the last minute. Finance and Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma had tweeted last night, “Official candidate of BPF and so called congress led alliance from Tamulpur LAC, Sri Ram Das Basumatary met me a short while ago. He has express his desire to Join @BJP4India and retire from the election.”
Official candidate of BPF and so called congress led alliance from Tamulpur LAC, Sri Ram Das Basumatary met me a short while ago. He has express his desire to Join @BJP4India and retire from the election.
— Himanta Biswa Sarma (@himantabiswa) March 31, 2021
This evening, ending all speculation, Basumatary officially joined the BJP in the presence of Union Agriculture minister Narendra Singh Tomar at Tamulpur.
Among the key candidates who tested their electoral fates in this phase is Deputy Speaker of Assam Assembly, Aminul Haque Laskar. He is the only Muslim to be elected to the state’s legislative assembly on a BJP ticket and it will be interesting to see if he can hold on to his Sonai constituency.
AIUDF chief Badruddin Ajmal’s brother, Sirajuddin Ajmal is a former MP and MLA. He is contesting from the Jamunamukh constituency which is seen as a AIUDF stronghold. Also, AIUDF MLA Suzamuddin Laskar is hoping to hold on to his Katlicherra seat.
Another key contender is former BPF leader and Rajya Sabha Member of Parliament Biswajit Daimary. He joined the BJP recently and is contesting Assembly elections from Panery.