Guwahati: The second and final phase of Assam Assembly elections began at 7 am on Monday amid tight security to decide the fate of 525 candidates in 61 of the 126 constituencies with ruling Congress, BJP-AGP-BPF alliance and AIUDF locked in a keen contest.
An electorate of 1,04,35,271, comprising 53,91,204 males, 50,44,051 females and 22 others, will exercise their franchise in 12,699 polling stations to decide the fate of 477 male and 48 female candidates in Lower and Central Assam.
More than 50,000 polling personnel have been deployed with security tightened across the constituencies, particularly those in four Bodoland Territorial Area Districts (BTAD) where NDFB(S) militants are active and in Goalpara district which recently witnessed a bomb blast.
Security has been also stepped up in minority dominated constituencies. A strict vigil is being maintained along the Indo-Bangla border in Dhubri district and Indo-Bhutan border in Baksa district.
While Congress is contesting in 57 seats, AIUDF, the major opposition party in the outgoing assembly, in 47, BJP in
35 while its allies--the Bodo Peoples' Front (BPF) in 10 and Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) in 19. CPI(M) is contesting in nine, CPI in five, unrecognised parties in 129 and independents in 214.
Among the prominent candidates are cabinet ministers Rakibul Hussain, Chandan Sarkar and Nazrul Islam for the Congress, former two-time AGP Chief Minister Prafulla Mahanta, AIUDF Chief and Dhubri MP Badruddin Ajmal and former Congress minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, who led a dissidence against the Chief Minister before joining the BJP last year.
While Congress looks forward to retain power for the fourth successive term, BJP called for a 'parivartan' (change)
and AIUDF aims to play the king-maker in the formation of the next government.