Tezpur: Infiltration and developing the town as a tourist destination are the two key issues which are likely to agitate the voters' mind in deciding the fate of candidates in the prestigious Tezpur constituency during the Assam Assembly polls.
Prominent citizens from the town, which is also termed as the cultural hub of Assam and is going to poll in the first phase on 4 April, are of the view that neither the state government nor the Centre is playing a positive role in solving the problems of Assam.
"Tezpur's main problem is the presence of a huge number of infiltrators in and around the town in the last 10 years. While the state is doing nothing, the Centre is also not paying full attention to the problem and giving a step-motherly treatment to Assam," veteran film actor Rajeev K
Doley told PTI in Tezpur.
For the rise of Bengali-speaking Muslim population in Tezpur, he blamed both Congress and BJP ally AGP.
In last Assembly polls in 2011, the Tezpur seat went to Congress' Rajen Borthakur who was later expelled from the party due to dissident activities, while AGP's Brindaban Goswami had won the 2006 polls.
Congress has this time fielded young candidate Hiranya Bhuyan against Goswami who is a veteran in regional politics and has a considerable support base in Tezpur.
Doley, who is also the Director of Centre for Inclusive Development in Tezpur University, said an expert team should be formed comprising ground workers and socio-cultural researcher to study the infiltration problem rather than constituting any Parliamentary or Assembly committee.
"Deportation of foreigners is not a practical solution anymore. We need to evolve an appropriate mechanism to deal with the problem and ensure that we do not allow aliens to enter further from today," he added.
Tezpur Sahitya Sabha President Hemanta Barua said it will be a fight between the junior and senior in Tezpur with chances of Goswami being more because of his popularity.
"In Tezpur, there are many issues which are likely to agitate the people's mind during voting. Beautification of the town, development of roads and flash flood issues are important. Many things can be done for tourism development of the place also," he added.
Barua claimed people are not fully satisfied with Goswami as he was MLA earlier also but did not do enough for the constituency.
"AIUDF, which have fielded a Bengali Hindu candidate Sukhendra Nath in Tezpur, can play a spoilsport for both the parties. If he gets minority votes, then Congress will be in problem and if the Bengali Hindu votes go to him, then AGP will be in problem, he explained.
Veteran film actor Prithviraj Rabha claimed around 60 percent votes will go to AIUDF and rest to Congress in east of Tezpur, where primarily Muslim voters are there.
"So the votes in town will decide who will win and who will lose... There are as such no big problem in Tezpur, but we all feel that the city could have been developed as an important tourist destination. No party has worked in this direction," he added.
Rabha, son of the doyen of Assamese culture and a Communist leader Kalaguru Bishnu Prasad Rabha, criticised both the state and central governments for lack of overall development of Assam.
Film editor A Nagraj said the blamegame between parties over insider-outsider is hampering the "holistic development" of the state and it should end immediately.
"All outsiders, including those from other states, came here because local authorities and people allowed them. Assam's economy is dependent on them. If they leave now, the entire economy will collapse," said Nagraj, who is also a faculty member of Tezpur University.